In this design for the new City of Watsonville Water Resources Center, 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.
This 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.
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.
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, and solar-powered faucets. 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.
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.
Design by: WRNS Studio