Announcing Ventura Water’s Extreme Water Saver Challenge


When Ventura Water challenged local residents to drive dirty cars this summer and show their support for conserving water, residents heeded our call, reveling in their filthy cars and showing support for reduced water use.

As the severe drought continues, we have a new challenge for Ventura! California and Ventura continue to be in an extreme drought, and as we move into autumn, our local water supply situation is likely to worsen.   An extreme drought calls for extreme measures. So Ventura … how far would you go to save our H2O? What extreme measures would you take? We want to know!

Ventura Water is inviting our customers and all of Ventura to participate in the Extreme Water Saver Challenge. Ventura Water will award prizes to the most creative and efficient water savers who post videos, messages or helpful tips on the Ventura Water Facebook page.

Let’s get extreme! Keep driving those dirty cars, but let’s take our commitment to conserving water an extreme step further.  Here are some ideas:

  • Re-think your landscape. Do you really need all that water-guzzling grass? Consider ripping out your entire lawn and planting a beautiful garden with California native plants. Get creative. Get extreme!
  • Re-think your laundry. How many times can you wear an article of clothing without washing it? Is your washing machine a water-efficient model?
  • Re-think how you waste water without even realizing it. Is every drop of water in your shower being used to clean your body or wash your hair? Can you keep a few buckets in your shower to catch extra water, then find ways to use that collected water at home? If so, share those ways with us!
  • Re-think the toilet. How about replacing all your old toilets with low-flushing models? To really go extreme, don’t flush every time. (A good motto: if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down).
  • Re-think everything!

We hope everyone will join our Extreme Water Saver Challenge. Let the ideas start rolling in!

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, September 2014

Early Bird Film Submissions for the Third Annual Water: Take 1 Online Short Film Contest Accepted through September 15, 2014


Early Bird Film submissions for the third annual Water: Take 1 Online Short Film Contest are being accepted at through September 15, 2014. The contest, which highlights our relationship with water through the art of film and calls attention to growing water challenges across the globe, is accepting recent short films under five minutes that address the topic of water in any genre, including documentary, drama, comedy, animation, sci-fi or experimental. There is no fee for submission and films will be posted online and able to be viewed upon acceptance. Also sign up for Water: Take 1’s monthly newsletter, NewsReel @

New 13-Member Water Task Force to Respond to Drought Issues


Dear Valued Customer,

Last Monday night, the City Council approved a 13-member Water Task Force to represent the community as Ventura Water develops and implements a range of actions to respond to the growing drought. The dry and hot weather is not helping our water situation, and as many of you are aware, the state recently mandated new requirements targeting water waste.

The City of Ventura has a Water Waste Ordinance on the books that was adopted during the 1990s drought. The state regulations and our ordinance include the same prohibitions:

  • Watering of outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff to adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots or structures. (Don’t let your sprinklers run so long that the water runs off the grass onto the pavement and don’t let your sprinklers water the pavement.)
  • Using a hose to wash an automobile, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle. (By the way, a professional car wash is a better choice, environmentally speaking. A commercial car wash uses only 45 gallons per car and typically recycles the water. Washing at home can use three times the amount of water and the dirt and grime washed off your car can pollute our ocean and beaches.)
  • The application of water to any hard surface, including, but not limited to, driveways, sidewalks and asphalt. (Use a broom, not the hose to clean hard surfaces. There are some exceptions for health and safety, such as street sweeping.)
  • Using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated.

Ventura’s ordinance has a few more prohibitions that you should be aware of:

  • Any leaks should be repaired within 48 hours after being discovered.
  • Restaurants should serve water only if requested by the customer. (It takes three glasses of water to provide one glass of drinking water: one to make the ice, one to fill the glass and one to wash the glass.)

All urban water suppliers across California, like Ventura Water, will be enforcing these standards to prevent water from being knowingly wasted. Ventura’s ordinance does not have a $500 fine as a penalty but we will be rolling out a program to educate and enforce water waste prohibitions, along with other efforts to motivate our customers to save water.

These are likely to include incentive programs, drought rates and/or surcharges, as well as community outdoor watering schedules, which will be the purview of the Water Task Force, whose first public meeting will hopefully be in August.

Meanwhile, we encourage you to attend our Drought Informational Meeting on Wednesday, July 30 at 6 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room at City Hall. We thought that a meeting would be the best way to update customers about what’s happening, help explain what all of this looks like down the road, and to answer questions.

Thank you for continuing to do your part to save water during these dry times. For more information, visit us at





From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, July 2014

READ MORE about the Water Task Force at

How to Design Your New California Yard

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Earlier this year, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that we are facing a historic drought and called for a reduction in water usage. In Ventura, 100% of our water comes from local sources and with low rainfall, those supplies are running low. Ventura Water asked residents for a 10% reduction in usage.

This segment of Sustainable Ventura News talks to City of Ventura Environmental Specialist Jill Sarick who shares how to take out your lawn to put in the NEW California yard – an Ocean Friendly Garden.

Sustainable Ventura TV News is reported by Maryann Ridini Spencer and airs on Caps-TV VTV’s Channel 15, Thursdays at 8:30pm. It rebroadcasts Monday-Thursday and Saturdays at 9:00am, Sundays at 8:30pm and every other Wednesday at 8:30pm. Get Sustainable Ventura News online at

For more information, visit:

Mark Your Calendar: Fall Water Wise Classes Announced


Sign-ups will begin in August for the next series of the FREE, Saturday morning Water Wise classes. Help Ventura become the most water-efficient community in California by learning more about these drought-busting topics:

  • September 20, 2014 ~ Rainwater Harvesting & Laundry-to-Landscape Graywater ~ City Sanjon Maintenance Yard
    Install a rain barrel, redirect your downspout into your new rain garden, install a laundry-to-landscape system and maintain them all properly.
  • October 18, 2014 ~ Composting and Urban Soils ~ Cornucopia Gardens (Telephone Road & Ramelli Avenue) 
    Create healthy backyard mulch, compost and worm castings from your food and yard waste to conserve water, reduce pesticides and revive urban soil.
  • November 15, 2014 ~ Turf Replacement with Water Wise Plants ~ City Sanjon Maintenance Yard
    Remove turf naturally, replace it with native or climate-appropriate plants, convert pop-up spray irrigation to drip irrigation, and re-wild your garden habitats to bring back birds, bees and butterflies.

For more information, visit:

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, July 2014

A red, white and BLUE tip for July 4th!



     Having a July 4th picnic or BBQ? Here’s a red, white and BLUE refreshing tip: Buy a large 5 (or 10) gallon Coleman beverage cooler and fill it with water and slices of fresh lemon and mint and/or homemade ice tea or lemonade! It’s economical and it saves our environment. Don’t forget to serve the beverages with reusable cups! Happy July 4th!


Water: Take 1 Online Short Film Contest News



      Subscribe to #WT1 NewsReel and get a behind-the-scenes look at Ventura’s global film contest all about water. The new issue features our award-winning local filmmakers from CAPS-TV, Professional Filmmaker and WT1 Juror Nicole Torre, and Carollo Engineers, sponsor of the Best Student Short Film Award.

     Submit Your Film: Film submissions are now being accepted for the Third Annual Water: Take 1 Global Online Short Film Contest. Filmmakers – submit your short films (5 minutes or less) with water themes to

     New this year: Water: Take 1 has extended the prize period deadline. The “Early Bird” deadline is Sept. 15, 2014. “Final deadline” is Nov. 1, 2014.

     New Partners: Water: Take 1 partners with Ojai Film Festival’s Focus Earth (more details to come).

     Let’s Party: Water: Take 1’s new venue for the awards ceremony in March 2015 will be the Century Downtown 10 Movie Theatre located at 555 E. Main St. in downtown Ventura.



NewsReel May/June 2014

NewsReel March/April 2014

GM’s monthly column – June 2014


 Dear Valued Customer,

As the water shortage continues to dominate the news, I would like to take this opportunity to explain about a little known agency that has an impact on our local water supplies – Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency (FCGMA).  What is this organization and why should you care about it?  This organization acts as the water master to the Oxnard Plain Groundwater Basin, where the city extracts the highest quality groundwater serving Ventura Water’s customers.  FCGMA was created by the state in 1982 to manage local groundwater resources in order to reduce overdraft of the Oxnard Plain Basin and stop seawater intrusion.  In this role, FCGMA allocates to agribusiness landowners and cities how much water they may extract from the basins they oversee.  In addition, FCGMA established a conservation credits program so that pumpers that used less water than their allocation could “bank” the unused water and accumulate “credits.”  Over time, the city used less water within the Oxnard Plain Groundwater Basin and built conservation credits for use when other water resources, such as the Ventura River, were low.

Unfortunately, due to these extraordinary dry years and the lack of accounting for water inflow and outflow in the basins, the FCGMA approved an emergency ordinance in April that restricts extraction from the groundwater basin and suspends the use of conservation credits.   Our allocation was also reduced by 6 percent.

This action is just another reason why Ventura will continue its call for increased conservation this summer and into the fall.  Meanwhile, the city is actively working with other stakeholders of FCGMA to resolve the issues that led to the FCGMA approving this emergency ordinance.  The goal is for the groundwater basins to be a resource when surface water resources are limited.

The agency takes policy direction from a five-member board whose members are appointed from other elected bodies. Lynn Maulhardt is the chairman of the FCGMA board and was appointed by the United Water Conservation District’s board. Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett is the board member representing the county. Ventura Councilmember Neal Andrews serves as an alternate for the one board member who represents cities. The two other members represent the agricultural community and small water districts. All of the FCGMA board meetings are open to the public and I encourage you to attend these meetings if you have an interest in water policy.


Shana Epstein,
ura Water General Manager

From Ventura Water’s June 2014 Pipeline

Dry Times = Action


Ventura gets 100 percent of its water from local sources – the Ventura River, Lake Casitas and groundwater aquifers. It’s been a dry, warm start to the summer and preliminary water usage reports show that our customers are doing a great job at saving water as requested last February.


You may have noticed that brown lawns and more gardens, instead of turf, are showing up all over town as residents take big steps to use less water. If you want to join the lawn alternative trend, there are lots of online resources that offer guidance and great ideas.



Visit: and and

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, June 2014