Construction begins on College Lake Water Supply Project

The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (PV Water) has begun construction on the College Lake Water Supply Project located at 76 Holohan Road.

College Lake is being developed as a new water supply for the Pajaro Valley. For the last century, a reclamation district drained the lake annually so property owners could farm their land. The new project will use the water to reduce groundwater pumping. The project will help to reduce groundwater overdraft and seawater intrusion, while also improving habitat for the endangered South-central California coast steelhead. There are two main project components: the Water Treatment Plant and Intake Facilities, and the Pipeline.

The pipeline component will consist of a 6-mile, 30-inch water main to transport treated water from the new water treatment plant to over 5,500 acres of farmland via PV Water’s existing water conveyance pipeline, which consist of 22 miles of pipelines. Use of project water helps to protect the Pajaro Valley’s groundwater basin while also preserving the ability to farm in the area.

On Monday, May 22, crews will begin “potholing” to identify existing underground utilities in advance of the construction of the pipeline. The surveying work will start at 76 Holohan Road and head east toward Lakeview Road. A 200-foot-long moving traffic control will be in place as crews use a vacuum excavator to dig straight down to where existing utilities are located.

The results of the “potholing” work will inform upcoming trenching to support pipeline construction. Construction updates will be posted at and on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

The PV Water Board of Directors approved construction contracts for the project during a special meeting in February of this year. Mountain Cascade, Inc, will build the College Lake Water Treatment Plant, Intake Facilities as well as, the College Lake Pipeline.

Groundwater accounts for more than 90% of water use in the Pajaro Valley Basin. Throughout the Pajaro Valley Groundwater Basin, groundwater levels are overdrafted, meaning they are below sea level because of long-term unsustainable pumping of the groundwater aquifer. Overdraft conditions result in seawater intrusion, groundwater quality degradation and groundwater storage depletion.

The College Lake Project will provide the largest new source of water in the Pajaro Valley since the completion of the Watsonville Area Water Recycling Facility in 2009, a facility that is jointly operated by PV Water and the City of Watsonville.

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