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The Hollister City Council took an important step last week to protect our local groundwater supplies and meet state wastewater regulations when it approved an ordinance prohibiting the use of certain water softeners that produce high-salt wastewater. The City Council’s ordinance prohibiting the installation of self-regenerating water softeners moves the city closer to accomplishing the long-range goals for improving water quality and reliability and ensuring the economic health and quality of life in the Hollister community.

It is important to point out that the ordinance does not prohibit the use of existing water softeners, but prohibits the installation of new self-generating water softeners.

Phasing out water softeners is part of the a long-range plan for the area’s water supply that started more than a decade ago when leaders in the Hollister Urban Area developed a Master Plan to provide a safe and reliable water supply for Hollister’s future. The development of the Hollister Urban Area Water Project (HUAWP), a cooperative effort between the City of Hollister, San Benito County Water District and the Sunnyslope County Water District, is based on the Master Plan and solidified the long-range water supply strategy for the community.

A key element of that long-range strategy is reducing the amount of salts in wastewater, which contribute to high salt levels in groundwater. By reducing the source salt discharges created by water softeners, wastewater discharges will be able meet state regulations and will in turn reduce salts in the local groundwater basin. Our groundwater basin is a precious natural resource that provides critical water supply during times of drought.

At the same time the city is working to reduce salt in wastewater, the HUAWP is working to improve drinking water quality by upgrading and building new surface water treatment facilities. Improving drinking water quality will further reduce the need for water softeners, and protect groundwater.

The Hollister City Council should be applauded for their leadership and foresight in protecting our groundwater resources and remaining true to the vision of a safe and reliable water supply for the Hollister urban area.  The HUAWP is committed to the long-range vision of providing high-quality water to help ensure economic stability and contribute to a better quality of life for the entire community.

If you want to find out more about the Hollister Urban Area Water Project, visit www.hollisterwaterproject.com.


Shawn Novack

Water Conservation Program Manager

Water Resources Association San Benito County