Santa Cruz County waters provide drinking water for residents and visitors, critical habitat to numerous threatened and endangered species and opportunities for recreational and commercial activities. The overwhelming majority of Santa Cruz County's water supply is locally derived from surface and groundwater sources – a unique situation in a state supported by large federal and state water projects. However, like many other areas of California, the County faces water resource challenges including impaired water quality, inadequate water supply, overdrafted groundwater basins, depleted streams, and degraded riparian habitat. Balancing water supply with environmental needs and other uses is a challenge that requires a collaborative effort among all stakeholders. Since our domestic supply is local, we have both the opportunity and responsibility to find solutions to these challenges ourselves.
Santa Cruz County's Water Resources Programs are part of Environmental Health under the Health Services Agency. The Water Resources Programs are not part of a water supply agency, but rather work in collaboration with other County departments, agencies, special districts and non-governmental organizations to solve water resources and environmental issues through long-range water supply planning , water quality protection and watershed management.