Water Resources Center

The Water Resources Center supports the larger Water Recycling Project, a joint effort of the City of Watsonville and the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency to provide recycled water to farmers throughout the coastal areas of South Santa Cruz and North Monterey counties. By treating wastewater and making it available to the $400 million local agricultural industry, the Water Recycling Project protects groundwater that is being consumed more quickly than it is replenished. This accounts for over 20% of the 18,500 acre-feet per year of coastal pumping needed to halt seawater intrusion into the local aquifer.
Water Resources Center Building

Facility Overview

The American Institute of Architects Committee On The Environment (AIA/COTE) named the City of Watsonville Water Resource Center as a top 10 Green Project for 2010.
  • Location: Watsonville, CA
  • Building type(s): Other, Laboratory, Interpretive Center
  • New Construction
  • 19,800 feet2 ($1,840 m2)
  • Project Scope: a single building
  • Rural setting
  • Completed November 2009

Facility Environmental Aspects

The focus on water as a finite, invaluable resource drove every aspect of design, from material selection to site development. Sustainable measures throughout the project design work in harmony with this idea, leveraging all potential opportunities for free cooling and natural ventilation. The HVAC system delivers thermal comfort and ventilation separately; heating is provided only when required, avoiding the energy penalty of a conventional forced air system, and the ventilation system includes a nighttime purge capability, reducing energy consumption due to cooling. Radiant tubes in the floor use reclaimed water to provide heating and cooling for occupied spaces, and the plumbing design reduces water use with low-flow plumbing fixtures, dual-flush toilets that use reclaimed water for flushing.

To display water as a seasonal resource connected to the local agricultural growing season, water is supplied to a tiled water feature only when recycled water is available to the site. In addition, rainwater flows from eaves and rain chains into swales, then is carried to retention basins to be treated prior to infiltrating the groundwater system. Native and drought-tolerant plantings, requiring less than 70% of typical water usage, are watered only when recycled water is available.

Facility Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned by City of Watsonville, Local government
  • Typically occupied by 30 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 20 visitors per week, 4 hours per visitor per week

Ratings & Awards

  • 2010 American Institute of Architecture featured top 10 in the nation Community on the Environment (COTE) Award
  • 2010 San Francisco Energy Award+ Sustainability Honor Award
  • 2010 California Green Building Wood Design Award
  • Profiled in the Winter 2010 issue of the U.S. Business Review
  • Featured in World Architecture News
  • Featured in International Academy of Design and Technology
  • 2011 Building Design and Construction Team Gold Award