The Santa Cruz Desalination Pilot Program evaluated construction and operation of a potential desalination plant in Santa Cruz to provide needed water supplies during droughts, protect groundwater aquifers, and improve water supply reliability for the City of Santa Cruz and the Soquel Creek Water District. In March 2008, the City of Santa Cruz Water Department and Soquel Creek Water District (scwd2) officially began seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination pilot testing at the scwd2 Pilot Test Plant at University of California, Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Lab.
Circlepoint worked closely with the City of Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District to provide strategic communications counsel and manage an effective public education and stakeholder involvement process on the topic of desalination as a potential supplemental water source.
Public outreach activities included developing key messages and talking points; creating informational materials such as fact sheets, presentations and a website; developing training materials and training sessions for the Long Marine Lab Seymour Marine Discovery Center’s docents and volunteers on effectively educating visitors about the pilot project; and meeting planning and support for the scwd2 Task Force.
Circlepoint also managed informational open houses to provide public interaction with project team members; designed and produced informational displays and Grand Opening exhibits; and coordinated interactive “See-More” materials inside the Seymour Marine Discovery Center.
Circlepoint went on to provide public outreach services for this project through a project level Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The team implemented all tasks associated with conducting public outreach, meetings and hearings in compliance with CEQA requirements. To reach all audiences within the project area, Circlepoint worked closely with the agencies to provide a variety of opportunities for the public to participate and also developed primers and designed visually engaging materials to explain highly technical concepts, including a Community Guide as a companion piece the draft EIR.