Hail Mary! — Net Zero is here!

by Save Our Water Ventura

A “Hail Mary” is a last-ditch attempt to score as time runs out, generally considered a miracle if it succeeds. Yet, on June 6, the Ventura City Council passed by 6-1 the Net Zero Ordinance despite strong opposition from the building industry. While some developers tried to defeat it, other pro- development forces tried to delay it. Save Our Water Ventura (SOWV) supported the ordinance and did not want a delay.

SOWV chair, Charles Spraggins said: “We did not get everything we wanted. However, the ordinance was a fair and reasonable compromise — so most of our members supported it. Net Zero is a plus for the city and for current residents. It requires new developments to be water neutral or pay a fee (known as an impact fee or an in-lieu fee). The fee will help pay for new water supplies. Until now current residents have subsidized water supplied to most new developments.”

During the contentious city council meeting, Carl Morehouse, an urban planner and a Ventura City Council member since 1999, admitted that Ventura City Councils have been negligent in properly planning for the City’s water requirements — and for the funding of those requirements.

Net Zero would not have passed without the extensive labor of the Ventura Water Commission whose members have given up their personal time, working without compensation, on behalf of our city. Last year, with the urging and support of SOWV, the Ventura City Council formed the Ventura Water Commission.

The top managers of the Ventura Water Department and an outside consulting firm worked with the Water Commission over a period of nine months to formulate the ingredients of the Net Zero Ordinance. During the lengthy process, the Commission listened to all stakeholders. Keeping water affordable is one of SOWV’s goals. The new ordinance will contribute to that end. Our thanks to the Ventura Council, Ventura Water Staff and Ventura Water Commission.


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