New water treatment facility also serves as an exhibition and education centre for the public
The new Watsonville Area Water Resources Center supports the Water Recycling Project, a joint effort of the City of Watsonville and the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency, to provide recycled water to farmers throughout the coastal areas of South Santa Cruz and the North Monterey counties of California. Groundwater in the valley is being consumed more quickly than it can be replenished, resulting in saltwater intrusion into coastal wells. By treating wastewater and making it available to the $400 million local agricultural industry, the Water Recycling Project recharges the region's aquifer with 4,000 acre feet of water for irrigation. In addition, the plant significantly reduces wastewater discharges into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Designed to achieve LEED Platinum, the Water Resources Center is a functional, educational, and visual extension of the water recycling plant it supports. The new 16,000 sq ft building consolidates three different city and county water departments into a workspace that allows for thoughtful and continuous collaboration on issues of water management, conservation, and quality in the Pajaro Valley. The facility includes administrative offices, a water quality lab, educational space, and a design that puts the story of water in California on display. The building, its systems, and its landscape educate the public through exhibitions and guided tours.