Photo of Hollister street with Water Awareness Month banner

Key Issues

  • Managing water supplies for long-term sustainability
  • Addressing groundwater quality issues
  • Coordinating groundwater users: municipal, agricultural, rural
  • Planning for drought

Solutions

  • Two adopted UWMPs in compliance with water code
  • Clear documentation of existing and future water demands and water supply sources
  • Coordination among local agencies for water supply and demand planning
  • Collaboration for ongoing water conservation

Urban Water Management Plans for the Hollister Urban Area

San Benito County, California

The City's evaluation of its existing and future water demands and water supply sources is a contribution to achieving sustainability in a high-priority basin.

Todd Groundwater prepared the 2010 and 2015 Urban Water Management Plans (UWMP) for the Hollister Urban Area (HUA) in San Benito County. This was a collaborative activity among the San Benito County Water District, the Sunnyslope County Water District, the City of Hollister, and the San Benito Water Resources Association.

The 2015 HUA UWMP describes the HUA amd documents its efforts towards water supply reliability and sustainability. Water supply includes local groundwater, local surface water, imported water from the Central Valley Project (CVP), and recycled water. Conjunctive management of these water supplies, coupled with ongoing conservation, has been fundamental to reliable and sustainable supply.

San Benito County Water District manages CVP imports for both agricultural and municipal water deliveries. The District also manages two surface water reservoirs and the local groundwater resources, providing managed aquifer recharge, monitoring of water levels and water quality, and annual reporting. The local groundwater basins have provided reliable supply for agricultural and municipal water consumption, particularly during drought.

Municipal use of imported water has increased as the HUA agencies have worked together to increase water treatment capacity for CVP supplies. Construction and operation of two water treatment plants aids the HUA agencies in conjunctive management, allowing increased use of CVP water when available. In addition, importation of CVP water helps the HUA agencies address water quality issues. The local groundwater has been described as highly mineralized and of marginal suitability for drinking water. Blending groundwater with treated CVP supplies allows the HUA to improve delivered water quality. Such blending also improves the quality of wastewater and supports water recycling. The HUA agencies are collaborating to increase recycled water use, which is provided for landscape and agricultural irrigation.

The HUA agencies also coordinate urban water demand management through the Water Resources Association (WRA) of San Benito County. The WRA serves water customers of Hollister, Sunnyslope, the District, and the City of San Juan Bautista, and plays an integral role in water conservation, including during drought.

An important aspect of the HUA UWMPs has been their preparation through a regional alliance. This reflects the collaborative nature of planning among the local agencies, and close coordination of local water and wastewater efforts. Another key aspect is the development of shared strategies for water conseration through the WRA and in accordance with State mandates and local sustainability planning.

Todd Groundwater worked closely with the three local agencies to compile comprehensive and consistent information. Todd staff also served as liaison to Department of Water Resources personnel, explaining the complexities of the local water situation and working with them toward a meaningful and compliant UWMP in the DWR formats.