Keeping You Informed

Ventura declared a Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency on Sept. 22, 2014, requiring a mandatory 20 percent cutback in water use from all SaveourWaterresidents. (Read about the Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency and Ventura’s water-use prohibitions here: http://www.cityofventura.net/water/waste and here: http://www.cityofventura.net/water/rates)

At an April 29 Town Hall meeting, Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein shared the many ways Ventura Water and the City of Ventura have sought to educate and inform customers about the drought, the City’s response, and the need to conserve water, as well as enforcement efforts. (Figures are as of late April 2015.)

  • 500 notification letters have been sent to Ventura Water customers reported for wasting water. (Report water waste by emailing myvtawater@cityofventura.net or call (805) 667-6500 with the address and information about the problem.)
  • Ventura Water has issued 42 warning notices to alleged violators.
  • Ventura Water has issued $25 fines to seven customers in violation.
  • Ventura Water has conducted 136 single-family home water surveys to help residents learn ways to conserve.
  • 300 large water users have all been contacted in an effort to educate them about reducing use.
  • Ventura Water has contacted all schools in the Ventura Unified School District and Ventura College to ask them to conserve.
  • Ventura Water last fall created an all-volunteer Water Shortage Task Force (http://www.cityofventura.net/water/taskforce), which held monthly public meetings and evaluated a range of water issues, culminating with recommendations for action to the Ventura City Council.

How has Ventura Water shared its news and information with customers and the pubic?

  • Informational notices inserted in your water bill.
  • The Ventura Water monthly e-newsletter Pipeline, delivered by email to about 5,400 recipients. (Subscribe to the Pipeline here! http://www.cityofventura.net/water/pipeline)
  • Articles or ads in local print media such as the My Ventura magazine, the Ventura Breeze, the VC Reporter and the Ventura County Star newspaper, and seeking media coverage.
  • Social Media: Twitter, Facebook and the Ventura Water blog. Ventura Water has over 1,000 social media followers. Sign up to follow our blog today!
  • Ventura Water’s YouTube channel.
  • Ventura Water co-sponsors free water-wise classes held throughout the year on timely topics like composting and rainwater harvesting.
  • Ventura Water posts extensive information and updates about the drought and what it’s doing on the Ventura Water website, venturawater.net.
  • Ventura Water hosts Town Hall meetings for the public such as the two-hour Town Hall held in Ventura on April 29 and attended by about 80 citizens.

Reminder: A public hearing on the proposed new water shortage rates and codifying the Water Shortage Stages is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 8. in the Ventura City Council Chambers, 501 Poli Street, Ventura. Public comments are welcome.

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Water Shortage Stages Explained

What are Ventura’s Water Shortage Stages and what do they mean?

On July 21, 2014, the Ventura City Council approved a 13-member, all-volunteer Water Shortage Task Force (learn more about it here: http://www.cityofventura.net/water/taskforce). Task Force members developed policy considerations for the city’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan. This effort included identifying water shortage emergency stages and water-use reduction targets based on water supply conditions. The plan details actions the city and customers would have to take at each stage.

Deepening drought conditions have led to the need for Water Emergency Stages as a way of responding to dwindling water supplies and responsibly managing our increasingly limited water resources. Ventura is currently in Stage 3, and has been since September 2014. A higher stage would be declared if water resources continue to decline and the need to conserve becomes even greater. Moving to a higher stage can be avoided or delayed if customers conserve more!

There are six stages:

  • Stage 1 (Advisory): Voluntary cutback in water use of 10 percent. Annual supply projection is 10 percent below normal year supply projection.
  • Stage 2 (Moderate): Mandatory cutback in water use of 10 percent. Annual supply projection is 10-19 percent of normal year supply projection.
  • Stage 4 (Severe): Mandatory cutback in water use of 30 percent. Annual supply projection is between 30-39 percent of normal year supply projection.
  • Stage 5 (Severe): Mandatory cutback in water use of 40 percent. Annual supply projection is between 40-49 percent of normal year supply projection.
  • Stage 6 (Critical): Mandatory cutback in water use of 50 percent. Annual supply projection is below 50 percent of normal year supply projection.

What happens at each stage? Here are some of the major points:

  • In Stages 2 & 3: reduce watering for visitor areas of the city; reduce sports field watering; fountains can not operate unless the water recirculates; use recycled water for parks and landscaping; and send written notices to all development project applicants. Customers must fix water leaks within 48 hours; not knowingly waste water; and limit outdoor irrigation to two days a week between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • In Stage 4: The city must enforce mandatory water consumption goals and allocations for all customers. New development that does not have a water supply to serve the project which supplements the city’s water supply will be required to offset any impact to water supply if they wish to continue the entitlement process during a water shortage event. Customers must comply with mandatory conservation rules.
  • In Stage 5: The city must enforce mandatory water consumption goals and allocations; limit outdoor watering to one day per week; and prepare a resolution for the City Council to consider directing the Community Development Department to stop processing development approvals in order to conduct a public hearing on water allocation to development applications. Customers must comply with conservation rules.
  • In Stage 6: No outdoor watering using potable water is allowed; all water use not needed for health and safety is prohibited; the issuance of any new development approvals and new water connections other than those that state law requires to be is suspended. (Building permits that do not create the need for more water or are for emergencies, public safety and water conservation may be exempted.) Customers must comply with mandatory conservation rules. The filling of swimming pools is prohibited; outside watering is prohibited unless for the preservation of health and safety; watering with hand-held five-gallon buckets is allowed to preserve vegetable gardens or fruit trees.

Reminder: A public hearing on the proposed new water shortage rates and codifying the Water Shortage Stages is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 8. in the Ventura City Council Chambers, 501 Poli Street, Ventura. Public comments are welcome.

 

 

 

New Water Shortage Rates

Protecting Venturas Water Future1The Ventura City Council is considering implementing new Water Shortage Rates. Ventura is currently in Stage 3, mandating a 20 percent water-use reduction.

A public hearing on the proposed new water shortage rates and codifying the Water Shortage Stages is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 8. in the Ventura City Council Chambers, 501 Poli Street. Public comments are welcome. Or: Tune in to CAPS-TV Channel 15 on June 8 to watch the meeting or see it live at www.cityofventura.net/video.

  • The new proposed rates with an additional fourth water-use tier prioritizes conservation and full water revenue loss recovery/revenue neutrality. (Read the Water Shortage Rate Study and the 2014 Cost of Service Study here: cityofventura.net/water/rates.)
  • Customers are not being given a water allocation. We expect customers to do their part and conserve the designated amount.
  • A typical single-family home in Ventura has a bi-monthly water bill of $86.33. Under Stage 3 Water Shortage rates for 2015-2016, these same customers would see their bill rise to $108.53 (an increase of $22.20) IF THEY DO NOT REDUCE WATER USAGE. If they reduce by 20 percent, their rates remain the same – $86.33 bi-monthly.
  • Lifeline usage is minimally impacted.
  • To ensure full revenue loss recovery and economic stability, the rates are increased at each stage of mandatory conservation if the drought worsens.
  • Customers who use the most water and are in the highest new tier (tier 4, about 1,000 customers) would pay even more. If they don’t conserve, “They are going to be paying a hefty amount,” said Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein.
  • The rates are increasing to achieve full revenue recovery within each tier or customer class, and by doing so, further encouraging conservation. The new rates account for the city fully recovering drought-related costs from lower water sales due to conservation and drought expenses, estimated at about $1.1 million for a Stage 3 Water Emergency. Expenses include the rebate incentive program, water waste enforcement, customer outreach and customer surveys. If Ventura Water does not get full recovery, rates will have to be increased further to ensure full revenue recovery and economic stability.

 

 

New Conservation Incentive Program for Customers Coming Summer 2015

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Take advantage of financial incentives to “wise-up” your landscape!

The Ventura City Council approved a new incentive program on March 9 for Ventura Water customers to reduce outside water use. The incentive plan focuses on more efficient irrigation devices and a turf removal and replacement incentive when property owners install a low-water alternative to water-thirsty grass. Some artificial turf is allowed if permeable (water can pass through it); hardscapes like concrete or brick patios in lieu of turf are not eligible for a rebate.

Here are the details:

  • Sign up for our Pipeline Newsletter to receive notification when the program starts: http://www.cityofventura.net/water/pipeline
  • For properties under 1 acre: turf removal rebate is capped at $800.
  • For properties over 1 acre: turf removal rebate is capped at $1,600.
  • Incentives of up to $300 are also available for other measures like buying mulch, converting to drip irrigation or installing water-efficiency devices.
  • Rebates will not be issued retroactively for lawns removed prior to the program’s launch date.
  • Read more details about the incentive program here: http://www.cityofventura.net/water/landscape

Here’s how the process works:

  1. Customer applies online or in person with Ventura Water Department.
  2. A program representative will come out to your property to verify your eligibility.
  3. Once approved, you have 120 days to complete the project.
  4. Rebates will be issued after the customer receives a pre-installation inspection and has completed all the recommended activities outlined in the Terms and Conditions of the program.
  5. Program may end at any time due to funding cuts.

Get started by signing up for the FREE Pipeline E-News Today, CLICK HERE.

Reminder: A public hearing on the proposed new water shortage rates and codifying the Water Shortage Stages is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 8. in the Ventura City Council Chambers, 501 Poli Street, Ventura. Public comments are welcome.

 

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Ventura Water Conservation Efforts Improved Very Little in March 2015; Keep Conserving! Helpful Tips

SaveourWater

The conservation efforts of Ventura Water customers fell significantly in March compared to February, when our conservation efforts were collectively much better. New figures show that water use was down only 7.16 percent in March 2015 compared to March 2013. In February 2015, water use by Ventura Water customers was down 13.44 percent compared to February 2013. (see chart and graph below)

(A good measure of how our customers are doing is comparing this year’s water use levels to date to those in 2013, before conservation measures were requested and later, required. The Ventura City Council first called for voluntary conservation in February 2014.)

Ventura is in a Stage 3 Water Emergency requiring customers to reduce water use by 20 percent. We all need to work toward reducing water use more and making conservation a lifestyle.

Ventura Water has instituted several mandatory water conservation measures for our customers. They include: sprinkler irrigation systems may run only two days per week between the hours of 6 p.m. to 9 a.m.; handheld hoses used to wash cars must have a shutoff nozzle; fountains must use recycled water; and hosing down hard surfaces like driveways or sidewalks is not allowed. (Using a broom to sweep is a reasonable alternative.)

What else can you do to cut water use?

Outside the house:

  • Minimize outside irrigation. Turn down or turn off the sprinklers.
  • Spring is the perfect time to replace your old, tired lawn with a beautiful, new water-wise garden, allowing your drought-tolerant plants time to become acclimated before warmer weather arrives. Need ideas and inspiration? Visit http://venturacountygardening.com.

Inside the house:

  • Take shorter showers.
  • Install low-flow showerheads and low-water-use toilets.
  • Turn off that faucet! A normal faucet runs at the rate of 3-5 gallons a minute. Turn off the water while shaving, brushing your teeth and washing your face.
  • Fix water leaks and leaky pipes.
  • When using the washing machine and dishwasher, run only full loads.
  • Dump the trash. Never use the toilet as a wastebasket.
  • If you have an old washing machine, replace it with one that has a load-size selector and variable water-level controls.

 

VWoneVwater2From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, April 2015

Ventura, Regain the Number 1 Position in the Water Pledge Challenge by Thursday, April 30, 2015!

MyWaterPledge.com

Take the Pledge to SAVE WATER and WIN PRIZES @ http://MyWaterPledge.com - Help Ventura REGAIN the Number 1 Position. Challenge Ends Thursday, April 30! For more information, also visit:  http://www.cityofventura.net/page/mayors-challenge-april-2015

Attend an Important Ventura Water Town Hall Meeting on Weds. April 29, 2015

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Changes may be coming for our customers on many water-related fronts in light of the Ventura City Council’s support for adjusting water-use tiers and rates, as well as offering a new water-saving incentive program and revising the city’s Water Shortage Event Contingency Plan – all to cope with the drought.

A Town Hall informational meeting for the public will be held at the city’s Sanjon Maintenance Yard, 336 Sanjon Road, on Wednesday, April 29 at 6 p.m. A City Council public hearing will follow on June 8.

Please attend the Town Hall meeting to learn more and have your questions answered! Also please read the Pipeline e-newsletter each month to keep-up-to-date on the drought and Ventura Water’s response. You will find all your Ventura Water news here in the month Pipeline e-newsletter.

Before any changes are implemented, Ventura Water will bring a proposed new rate plan ordinance back to the City Council in June. Customers would be notified of the new rates in July and the new rates would become effective September 1, 2015.

The City Council last month acted on the recommendations of the Water Shortage Task Force,  which recommended the changes after a series of public meetings to manage the ongoing drought.

The Council is considering implementing a new, four-tiered water rate structure that would send a strong message for conservation of Ventura’s local resources. Under the plan, the highest residential users would pay more for their water – but not as much if they reduce use by 20 percent. The lowest users would have minimal impact. Commercial customers are expected to conserve by 10 percent during the current Stage 3 Water Shortage.

The City Council is also considering a new incentive program for customers who reduce outside water use. This program could be underway by summer or fall 2015. Since most water use is outdoors, the incentive plan focuses on irrigation efficiency devices and a turf removal and replacement incentive when property owners install a low-water alternative to grass. Tentatively, a rebate of $2 per square foot or up to $800 would be offered for properties less than one acre; the possible rebate is up to $1,600 for properties over an acre. Rebates of $300 would be offered for other measures like buying mulch and installing efficiency devices.

Finally, a proposed new Water Shortage Event Contingency Plan defines the six levels of a water shortage event. Ventura is currently in Stage 3, requiring a 20 percent water use reduction for residential properties. If dry conditions worsen, the city could advance to Stage 4, which would trigger a mandatory 30 percent water-use reduction.

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From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, April 2015