Blog: Saving Water with Aptos Village

14 Jul Blog: Saving Water with Aptos Village

Some of us catch shower water in a bucket, saving it for a favorite plant or two. It breaks our heart to see so many beautiful gardens allowed to go brown in the effort to save water.  We’ve become masters of efficiency in our dishwashing and laundry.  And even though we’ve exceeded the required water savings, our rates increase, and our water bills get higher.

So, it’s natural to question what impact the new Aptos Village will have on our precious water supply.

In 2003, the Soquel Creek Water District had the foresight to establish their Water Demand Offset program. The WDO required all new development to implement water saving measures in existing locations, which would conserve 160 to 200 percent of any water the new development would be using.  The SCWD goal is to, “allow development to continue, conserve water and to not further impact the overdrafted groundwater basin.”

Nine years ago, Barry Swenson Builder began meeting their requirement to offset the projected water use of the new Aptos Village. Simply put, this meant BSB was required to find ways to save the mandated 160 to 200 percent of the water the community would use on a permanent basis.  BSB has met this requirement by installing within the Soquel Creek Water District, high efficiency water fixtures in both residential and commercial buildings, including hundreds of units at Cabrillo College alone.  Shower heads, toilets, sink faucets as well as the labor to install them, were paid for by BSB as per the terms of the Water Demand Offset program.

In meeting these offset requirements years before construction, BSB has significantly helped reduce water demand during these years of drought, and even after completion Aptos Village will continue to save twice as much water as it is using.

But that’s just the beginning.  The Aptos Village design includes factors to save additional water inside and out.  Within both residential units and retail buildings, water fixtures of the highest efficiency will be installed, decreasing water usage beyond what is required.

Outdoors, while enhancing the beauty of Aptos Village, state of the art landscape and open space elements will conserve water, enhance air quality, and improve the water running into Aptos Creek and Valencia Creek.

One of these elements is the Bioswale.  A bioswale channels rainwater into a very shallow, sloped trough. The trough is filled with vegetation, mulch, and rubble which acts to slow down the runoff rate, decrease the runoff volume, remove pollutants, as well as increase soil and groundwater infiltration.

Another element in the Aptos Village design is the Rain Garden. Rain Gardens are shallow, excavated, depressions planted with deep rooted plants and grasses. Typically located near a downspout or driveway, they capture and absorb rainwater runoff from an impervious surface, (such as a roof) preventing the water from flowing wastefully into the sewer system.

Pervious paving will be used in areas without heavy vehicle traffic, helping to manage runoff from asphalt and concrete surfaces.  Pervious paving uses permeable materials in a base and subbase design, allowing rainwater to filter through.  Again, the runoff rate is slowed, while solids and pollutants are removed from the rainwater.

More details and pdf design documents can be found here:

Specific questions from the public regarding water usage, et cetera were answered by the SCWD:

Water use is an incredibly important topic in our community. Barry Swenson Builder is committed to incorporating elements in Aptos Village designed to insure decreased water usage, and increased rain water conservation.

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