The Community Water Dialogues are an example of a proactive community solution to an archetypal California water dilemma. The Pajaro Valley basin aquifer is widely understood to be in overdraft, resulting in saltwater intrusion into the groundwater resources. For years, the discussion around water in the Pajaro Valley has been contentious, controversial, and unproductive.
Beginning in the late 1990s, eight watershed restoration plans and a number of other related assessments were undertaken for seven watersheds in Santa Cruz County. Over the next few years, the focus shifted to ways to effectively implement these plan recommendations. Numerous stumbling blocks were identified, including: