When the water in your main service line gets stirred up, it can cause the sediment that has settled in the bottom to come through your faucets. This can typically be cleared up by flushing out your system. Simply go to an outside hose bib or, if you don’t have an outside hose bib, the faucet that is the farthest from the street. Turn the cold water on and let it run for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the color has cleared up. It is important to use cold water while you flush so that the sediment does not get drawn into your hot water heater and take much longer to flush out. If you have further questions or need more assistance, please contact us.
You will see a “Basic Service Charge” on each bi-monthly water bill. This service charge is a fixed amount based on the size of your meter. The basic service charge covers the costs of the District’s operations, including water storage facilities, pumping maintenance, water testing and meter readings. Revenue generated from water billing is directly equal to the expense of providing safe and reliable water service. Please visit the Rates and Fees page for more information.
Water use varies from household to household based on the number of people living in the home, how much landscape or garden space is being watered or if there are any special needs being considered. 50 gallons per day per person in the winter (as irrigation is usually not being used) should be the maximum, although it is not difficult to use 35 gallons per person per day. Summer irrigation would increase that amount but varies greatly depending on the lot size, efficiency of irrigation and whether there is a lawn or pool.
If your water usage has increased unexpectedly, you may have a leak somewhere in your system. The most common types of leaks are running toilets, broken landscape irrigation pipes, and/or broken main lines from the meter to your home. Please refer to Information about Leaks for tips on how to investigate if you may have one of these types of leaks.
Water rates are approved by the Board of Directors and the most recent rate changes are listed in Rates and Fees section on our website.
Scotts Valley Water District tests for lead quarterly in source water pumped from wells and treated water as it leaves the treatment plants. Our samples are always negative for lead. Since 1993, the District has regularly tested the water at a selected number of higher-risk homes. These homes were constructed using copper pipes with lead solder prior to the 1986 federal ban on lead solder. Our monitoring is conducted in accordance with regulatory requirements and guidance.
The most common source of lead exposure is from paint in homes and buildings built before 1978. Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the main sources of exposure for lead in U.S. children. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978.
Although the main sources of exposure to lead are ingesting paint chips and inhaling dust, lead also can be found in some household plumbing materials and some water service lines. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 10-20 percent of human exposure to lead may come from lead in the drinking water.
Lead can cause a variety of adverse health effects when people are exposed. These effects may include increases in blood pressure for adults, delays in normal physical and mental development in babies and young children, and deficits in the attention span, hearing, and learning abilities of children.
Lead is rarely found to naturally exist in water supply sources, like surface water or groundwater. More commonly, lead leaks into water over time through corrosion—a dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and your plumbing. Lead can leach into water from pipes, solder, fixtures, faucets (brass) and fittings. Lead service lines and pipes have not been found to be used in construction in the Scotts Valley Water District. Therefore, sources of lead in our drinking water are primarily limited to lead-based solder and fixtures located at residential and commercial sites where water is received. The amount of lead in your water depends on the types and amounts of minerals in the water, how long the water stays in the pipes, the water’s corrosivity, and water temperature.
The Scotts Valley Water District monitors water quality at the groundwater production wells for the constituents required by the Safe Drinking Water Act and under Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations. The District annually prepares and distributes the SVWD Annual Water Quality Report to keep customers informed on water quality issues. This report provides the public with detailed results of water-quality testing, a description of the water source, answers to common questions about water quality, and other useful water quality information.
The Scotts Valley Water District's annual water quality report can be found here.
Drinking water standards are adopted by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Drinking Water Program pursuant to the California Safe Drinking Water Act. Drinking water standards are enforced and monitored by the CDPH and local health departments.
SVWD water, which comes from groundwater wells, has continuously met or exceeded every water quality standard set by State and Federal Water Quality Standards.
If you’re concerned your home plumbing may contain lead in its pipes or fittings, you may want to have your water tested by a state-certified laboratory. Testing is the only way to confirm if lead is present or absent. For more information on testing your water, contact a drinking water laboratory.
Here are three in our area:
Soil Control Lab (831) 724-5422
Monterey Bay Analytical Services (831) 375-6227
Bolsa Analytical Lab (831) 637-4590
Here are some steps you can take to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water:
- Run your water to flush out lead. If it hasn’t been used for several hours, run the water for three to five minutes to clear most of the lead from the water. To conserve water, remember to catch the flushed tap water for plants, cleaning or flushing toilets.
- Always use cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula. Never cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Never use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
- Periodically remove and clean the faucet screen/aerator. While removed, run the water to eliminate debris.
- You may consider investing in a point-of-use home water treatment device. When purchasing a water treatment device, make sure it is certified under NSF/ANSI 53 to remove lead.
- Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead. Brass faucets, fittings, and valves may leach lead into drinking water. Products sold in California after the 2010 law went into effect must contain very low levels of lead.
- Have a licensed electrician check your wiring. Your home electrical system may be attached to your service line or elsewhere in your plumbing.
The recycled water distributed by the Scotts Valley Water District may be used for many non-potable uses including construction purposes, irrigation of schools, parks, golf courses, HOA common landscape areas and commercial landscapes, and irrigation of all types of food crops (including those eaten raw).
Please visit the County of Santa Cruz Public Health's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program website or call (831) 454-4432.
Please visit the National Lead Information Center website or call (800) 424-LEAD
The Board of Directors has oversight over Scotts Valley Water District and appoints the General Manager to handle day-to-day operations. The directors have the power to set water rates, establish policies that support the vision and the mission of the district, and to provide direction to the General Manager on matters within the authority of the Board. The operation of the District requires that the directors remain objective and responsive to the needs of the public they serve, make decisions within the proper channels of governmental structure and not use the public office for personal gain.
Regular meetings are scheduled for the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Santa Margarita Community Room, 2 Civic Center Dr.
Meeting dates are subject to change, please contact the District for date confirmation at (831) 438-2363.
Board members are elected to four-year terms and have no term limits. Elections are staggered, every other November two to three director seats are up for election. Interested applicants may submit a letter of interest and a resume to the Board President. Please visit the Board of Directors page for more information.