Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning


City and Regional Planning


Chris Clark, J.D.


This professional Masters project involved turning the Sustainable Water Coalition (SWC), an unincorporated group of Santa Cruz residents advocating the work of the two local water agencies, into a California Nonprofit Corporation and an IRS recognized 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. This paper examines the biophysical, human, and institutional systems surrounding water use in Santa Cruz County, California, and the roles that a nonprofit advocacy organization can play within that framework. These roles are illustrated through an exploration of citizen involvement and advocacy in the comparative cases of the scwd2 Desalination Program in Santa Cruz, California, and a proposed wastewater treatment facility in Los Osos, California. The paper also describes the step-by-step process of turning SWC into a California Nonprofit Corporation and IRS recognized 501(c)(4) social welfare organization as a response to the need for a nonprofit advocacy group supporting the work of the City of Santa Cruz Water Department (City) and the Soquel Creek Water District (District). The goals of SWC, the City, and the District include: promoting water conservation; protecting local surface water resources; maintaining riparian habitats for endangered species; resting and recharging overdrafted coastal aquifers to avoid seawater intrusion; and attaining a supplemental water supply to make the community more resilient in times of drought.