How the recent heavy rains have affected Ventura’s drought situation

Foto: City of Ventura was unable to utilize water from Foster Park.

How the recent heavy rains have affected Ventura’s drought situation

By Carol Leish, MA

“Although the rainfall has been beneficial,” according to Gina Dorrington, Ventura Water General Manager, “the recent rainstorms do not immediately relieve the years of persistent drought that the City of Ventura has faced. Per the Governor’s orders from last summer, the City of Ventura and its customers are still subject to demand reduction actions of Stage 2 of the Water Shortage Event Contingency Plan in addition to the irrigation ban of non-functional turf at Commercial, Industrial and Institutional properties. The emergency regulations will remain in effect until December 20, 2023.”

Water sources have been affected since, according to Dorrington, “The City of Ventura is entirely dependent upon 100% local resources. The water supply portfolio includes Lake Casitas, Ventura River, and three groundwater basins. The recent rains have increased surface flows in the Ventura River, have begun to fill up reservoirs, and have been recharging groundwater basin.

“The City of Ventura was unable to utilize water from its Foster Park facilities due to sewage spills on the Ventura River and San Antonio Creek. Communications to the wells currently operating in the park were lost during the storm in addition to other minor equipment damage. As of January 18, 2023, operations at one of the wells has been restored.”

“Yes, the City of Ventura is grateful for the recent rainstorms that have helped to alleviate drought conditions,” according to Dorrington. “Per the California Drought Monitor, released January 12, 2023, the County of Ventura is currently experiencing Moderate Drought conditions. ( ca trd.pdf) Prior to the recent rainstorms, the County of Ventura, along with most of California, was experiencing severe drought to exceptional drought conditions. The California Drought Monitor notes that it focuses on broad-scale conditions and that local conditions may vary.

“At this time, single family residential properties in the City of Ventura are encouraged to voluntarily reduce water use by 20 %. Stricter measures, including implementing water shortage rates and mandatory outdoor watering restrictions, could go into effect if demand reductions are not achieved through voluntary efforts.

“As a reminder, the City of Ventura will continue to enforce water waste prohibitions, offer water efficiency programs/incentives, and pursue multi-benefit water supply projects, such as the ‘State Water Interconnection Project’ and the ‘Ventura Water Pure Program.’ Ventura Water extends its sincere appreciation to Ventura residents for their continued commitment to improved water efficiency as the State of California shifts towards ‘making water conservation a California way of life.’”

“Climate is changing,” according to Dorrington. “We’ve experienced a reminder of that change through the increased intensity of storm events that we’ve been having. Conservative water use will continue to be valuable when we see another period of no rainfall. Thus, it’s important that we continue to use water wisely.”

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