Do we need to water only once a week?
There has been much confusion regarding the use of Ventura water. We asked Stephen Glenn, Management Analyst II Ventura Water to answer a few questions. This is part 1 of 2 articles.
Q: What are Ventura’s water sources?
A: The City of Ventura is unique in that it relies exclusively on water from 100% local sources. These sources include surface water from Lake Casitas and the Ventura River, and groundwater from the Santa Paula, Oxnard Plan, and Mound Basins.
Q: What is their condition?
A: Ventura Water continually assesses short and long-term water supply and demands through various planning efforts including the Annual Comprehensive Water Resources Report and the Urban Water Management Plan. These assessments consider new development projects, anticipated increase in water demand, and impacts to the water supply, to ensure a balanced and stable water future.
Currently, staff is completing the 2022 Comprehensive Water Resources Report. This plan evaluates the City’s projected water supply and demand for the next 3 years. Lake Casitas is currently below 40% capacity which requires the City to reduce its purchases by 30%. Ventura River supplies are expected to be less than 25% of capacity due to below average rainfall in 2020 and 2021 and the settlement agreement that requires the City stop pumping when flows reach 4 cfs. Groundwater levels in the Oxnard Plain are decreasing, but the City does not anticipate a reduction in its allocation this year. Groundwater conditions in the Santa Paula and Mound Basin are stable and allocations are not expected to be reduced this year.
Considering the current challenges, uncertainties, and reliability associated with Ventura’s water sources, the plan concludes that water supplies are sufficient to meet demands for at least 2022-2024. The 2022 Final Draft CWRR shows that the projected supplies for the next three years are slightly greater than the projected water demands. This indicates that if the City’s customers continue to conserve at current levels, the City will not need to declare a water shortage or enact water shortage surcharge rates within the next three years unless there are unanticipated changes to supply projections.
Q: Are any plans to control water usage?
A: In 2021, Ventura Water released the 2020 Water Shortage Event Contingency Plan to provide guidance if triggering events occur — whether from reduced supply, increased demand, or an emergency declaration — and identify corresponding actions to be taken during the various stages of a water shortage. The plan includes voluntary and mandatory stages which are intended to be fair to all water customers and users while having the least impact on business, employment, and quality of life for residents.
Additionally, the City of Ventura’s ordinance Section 22.170.010 – Water waste prohibited, lists out prohibited uses and penalties, which remain in place regardless of if a water shortage event has been triggered.
It is important to note (as stated in your previous publication) that the restrictions being imposed by Metropolitan Water District do not impact the City’s customers. Currently, the City does not receive any State Water and is instead reliant on a diverse portfolio from 100% local sources. Staff continues to monitor considerations being made by the State Water Resources Control Board regarding Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-7-22 that may require all Californians to conserve water whether a local water shortage exists or not. The SWCRB is expected to take action on May 24, 2022, so the City will evaluate whether local actions are necessary following that date.
Lastly, Ventura Water continues administer a robust water efficiency program that has helped transform water conservation into a Ventura way of life. Ventura Water customers’ continued water conservation efforts have allowed the City to avoid a critical water shortage situation. For a complete list of programs offered by the Ventura Water, please visit Rebates & Incentives | Ventura, CA.