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City of Watsonville Water Resources Center

The new City of Watsonville Water Resources Center supports the 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. Groundwater in the valley is being consumed more quickly than it can be replenished, resulting in saltwater intrusion into coastal wells. By treating wastewater and making it available to the $400 million local agricultural industry, the Water Recycling Project recharges the region’s aquifer with 4,000 acre-feet of water for irrigation.

Designed to achieve LEED Platinum, the 16,000 square foot Water Resources  Center is a functional, educational, and visual extension of the water recycling plant it supports. The facility includes administrative offices, a water quality lab, educational space, and a design that puts the story of water in California on display.

The new City of Watsonville Water Resources Center supports the 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. Groundwater in the valley is being consumed more quickly than it can be replenished, resulting in saltwater intrusion into coastal wells. By treating wastewater and making it available to the $400 million local agricultural industry, the Water Recycling Project recharges the region’s aquifer with 4,000 acre-feet of water for irrigation.

Designed to achieve LEED Platinum, the 16,000 square foot Water Resources  Center is a functional, educational, and visual extension of the water recycling plant it supports. The facility includes administrative offices, a water quality lab, educational space, and a design that puts the story of water in California on display.

Whenever possible, the project reveals an underlying focus of the design on water as a finite, invaluable resource, tied to energy use and the resource-intensive processes of providing potable water.

In occupied spaces, water flows through radiant tubes underneath the floors to provide heating and cooling. Rainwater flows from eaves, down rain chains, into swales and then is carried to retention basins where it is detained and 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. To further 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.

These water conservation strategies help reduce potable water consumption by 50%; help achieve energy-efficiency targets that exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 76%; and reduce the need for energy-intensive water transport, lowering the building’s overall carbon footprint.

The building is designed to conserve energy while improving building performance and comfort. Natural ventilation, CO2 sensors in open areas, building chimneys, and roof-mounted solar panels further contribute to energy conservation, reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions while improving the overall building performance and occupant comfort.

The building was designed for optimized material use, with materials chosen for their durability and low maintenance requirements. Redwood was an ideal choice for the coastal site, not only as a material reflection of the local agrarian architectural vernacular, but for its resistance to decay and mildew. The redwood used for the building’s exterior rain-screen cladding was harvested eight miles from the project site. Originally slated to be used for mulch, the wood was milled locally and allowed to acclimate naturally without the typical kiln-drying process to meet its proper moisture content. Finished with a low-VOC stain, the exterior wood siding is designed to weather and patina naturally. The inherent design of the rain-screen wall allows the siding to “breathe,” reducing the opportunity for water penetration that can lead to mold and poor indoor air quality.

Notable Accomplishments

  • Designed to achieve LEED Platinum

Award Credit

Design Architect
WRNS Studio
AIA San Francisco Chapter
415-489-2224
Owner
City of Watsonville
David Koch, Director of Public Works and Utilities
P.O. Box 50000
Watsonville, CA 95077
Electrical & Lighting Designer
Integrated Design Associates, Inc.
David Kaneda
1084 Foxworthy Avenue, Suite 150
San Jose, CA 95118
408-448-6300
Structural Engineer
JEC Structural Consulting
Jason Campbell
5660 Fernhoff Road
Oakland, CA 94619
510-482-9865
Civil Engineer
Richard Irish Engineering, Inc.
Richard Irish
303 Potrero Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831-425-3901
Plumbing & Electrical Engineer
Rumsey Engineers, Inc.
Peter Rumsey
99 Linden Street
Oakland, CA 94607
510-663-2070
Landscape Architect
Bellinger Foster Steinmetz
Michael Bellinger
425 Pacific Street, Suite 201
Santa Cruz, CA 93940
831-646-1383
General Contractor
Devcon Construction
Garret Tomforde
690 Gibraltar Drive
Milpitas, CA
408-942-8200
Commissions Agent
Rick Unvarsky Consulting Services, Inc.
Photography
Bruce Damonte

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