by Venturans for Responsible & Efficient Gov’t (VREG)
According to the Carollo Report, the next phase of VenturaWaterPure carries a price tag of $320 million. Do you spend another $320 million if Ventura Water can meet its three goals for less regardless of the money already spent? And if you do, how will a family afford a 260% water rate increase?
The current VenturaWaterPure plan calls for the construction of an advanced water purification facility, new pipeline infrastructure and three injection wells. This current plan also requires the addition of 20 to 27 more positions, with salaries, benefits and pensions. The Carollo Report indicates that much of the costs and liability that Ventura Water plans to take on as an independent project could be shared and reduced on a more regional basis.
What’s The Alternative?
It is not too late to reconsider some of the alternatives suggested in the Carollo Report. The redirection of the first part of the planned $270 million project does not mean the end of VenturaWaterPure. VenturaWaterPure can be completed at a savings of $270 million and meet all the city’s goals.
The alternative is for Ventura Water to construct a pipeline to the United Water settlement ponds near the intersection of 118 and Vineyard Avenue. The water can then percolate into the Oxnard plain basin. Ventura Water had always planned to inject the well water into the Oxnard plain basin under its current plan.
The United Water alternative plan eliminates the need for Ventura Water to construct the advanced water purification facility, pipeline infrastructure, brine line and three injection wells. That is a savings of $320 million. It would require the construction of nine miles of a 24-inch pipeline with a cost of about $50 million, so the net saving is still $270 million.
There will need to be negotiations with United Water to complete the water transfer loop. Given the recent Groundwater Management act legislation (GMA), agencies transferring water to other agencies require cooperation in water exchanges. In that process, Ventura Water can obtain additional water allocations to add to the water supply.
Why Would There Be Any Objection?
The possible resistance to redirecting the tertiary treated Santa Clara Estuary wastewater to the United Water Saticoy Spreading Grounds is that Ventura Water may fear losing control of their water resource. This concern is unfounded, however. All water injected into any wells, may be drawn out by any water user with access to the Oxnard plain basin.
Improves The VenturaWaterPure Program
Saving $270 million by redirecting the Santa Clara Estuary tertiary treated wastewater to the United Water Saticoy spreading grounds does not derail the other Ventura Water goals. With the continued construction of the State Water Project, State Water will provide an additional water resource to compliment the river, groundwater and recycling programs in place. The State Water will also improve the water quality for the east end of Ventura. Additionally, the tertiary treated wastewater to the United Water Saticoy spreading grounds would remain available to be drawn out of the Oxnard Basin just as it would be if injected into any wells currently planned.
The challenge in 2012 was to comply with the Federal Court Decree. The chosen solution was to convert the estuary into drinkable water. Ventura Water created VenturaWaterPure to persuade citizens that the cost to move the water away from the estuary was justifiable because we could then drink it. Fixated on controlling all water resources sounded good eight years ago, but reality governs in the end. It was too costly then, and today’s COVID-19 economic circumstances have revealed that fact, something Ventura Water has yet to consider.
Utilizing the regional resources to accomplish the same goals at a lower cost is better for Ventura. With this one primary change, VenturaWaterPure will succeed, and the citizens will save as much as $137 per month or $1,644 per year on their water bill.
Call or email your City Councilmember to tell them you want to save $270 million and not have your water rates nearly triple.