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 watertake1.com.

     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:  Ventura.WaterSavingPlants.com and VenturaWater.net and VenturaWater.org

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, June 2014

New Water Rates Set For July 1

New Water Rates Set For July 1

     After a yearlong public process studying the fiscal stability of Ventura’s water and wastewater infrastructure and services, the City Council approved new rates for the next four years following a public hearing on May 5. Customers will begin to see the higher rates on bills after July 1. Using the same amount of water, the average residential customer is expected to pay about $5 more per month the first year, and $6-$7 more per month the following years. Even with the increases, Ventura Water customers will pay less than a penny for a gallon of water.

     The rates paid by customers for water and wastewater services fund operations, maintenance, debt payments and capital improvements for Ventura’s extensive and aging water and wastewater systems (including replacement of deteriorating pipelines and facilities.) The new rates will help keep our systems reliable as many of our 380 miles of water and 300 miles of wastewater mainlines will reach the end of their lifecycle over the next two decades. In fact, many of the water mains made of cast iron, which comprise 25 percent of our water distribution system, are already failing, resulting in main breaks and service disruptions.

     For more information about the rates and other Ventura Water programs, please visit www.venturawater.net.

From the June 2014 Ventura Water Pipeline

Composting – A great solution to help fight the California Drought



     Composting ( recycling of fully decomposed organic matter such  as food scraps, fallen leaves and grass clippings) helps keeps your landscape’s soil healthy, vital and nutrient rich when these organic materials are used as an amendment for your garden, potted plants and lawn.


     Creating compost not only  reduces the amount of waste going to the landfill, but when added to soil, compost can tremendously improve soil’s ability to retain moisture.  Better soil water retention means less water is needed to keep your garden or lawn healthy. In order for the composting process to work, there needs to be a balance of carbon-rich materials known as “browns” and nitrogen-rich materials called “greens.” Browns are dry, woody materials such as dry leaves, pruned bushes and newspaper. Greens include grass clippings, freshly cut weeds, flowers, food scraps, vegetable and fruit peels. The greens tend to be more prevalent in the summer months and can throw off the balance in the bin. Fallen leaves that provide needed carbon are easier to find in the fall and winter. Newspaper can work as a brown or carbon source but make sure it is not more than 10% of your compost pile by volume. A better option is corrugated cardboard torn into small pieces. This may be a good use of a pizza box or other stained or wet box that can’t be recycled. The corrugated texture traps air and aids in the composting process. Wood chips and straw are other good options.


     It’s easy to start a compost pile any time of year using a purchased compost bin (above) or by just making a compost pile in your yard (below).


How To Create A Compost Pile in Your Yard

  • •Start your compost pile on bare earth to allow worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost.
  • •Lay twigs or straw a few inches deep to aid drainage and help aerate the compost pile.
  • •Add compost layers alternating between moist and dry.  Moist ingredients would be food scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds.  Dry materials are leaves or straw. 
  • •Add grass clippings or any nitrogen source to activate the compost pile.
  • •Keep compost moist.  Water it occasionally or if it rains, rain will do the job.
  • •Cover the compost pile with plastic sheeting or wood.  Covering helps retain moisture and heat which are essential ingredients for compost.  Covering also aids in the compost being over-watered should it rain extensively.  You want your compost pile moist, but not soaked.
  • •Every few weeks, turn the pile with a pitchfork or shovel.  This aerates the compost providing oxygen for the compost to work.
  • •Once your compost pile is established, you can add new materials by mixing them in vs. adding them in layers.  Mixing or turning the pile is key to aerating and  speeds up the composting process.

Summer Composting Tips
During the summer, for those who have a compost pile or bin, here are some tips to keep it working at peak efficiency:

  • Check the moisture levels of your compost pile. It should be as wet as a wrung out sponge.
  • Add water as needed. Although heat is necessary for the composting process to work, excessive heat can kill the microbes and worms.
  • If you are using a black plastic bin in direct sunlight, check a little more frequently in the hot weather.
  • If necessary, cover it with cardboard or other light material to keep it from getting too hot and dried out.


What to Compost:

Table scraps (Nitrogen)

Fruit & Vegetable Scraps (Nitrogen)

Coffee Grounds (Nitrogen)

Tea Leaves (Nitrogen)

Newspaper (Nitrogen)

Shredded paper (Carbon) – avoid glossy paper and colored inks

Cardboard (Carbon) – shred material to avoid matting

Grass Clippings (Nitrogen)

Garden plants and flowers (use disease free plants only)

Leaves (Carbon)

Grass clippings (Nitrogen)


What Not to Compost:




Diseased plants


Banana peels, peach peels and orange rinds may contain pesticide residue and should be kept out of the compost


Every year the City conducts 2-3 FREE Compost Workshops presenting information about the science of composting and information about how to start composting as well as troubleshoot problems.  Please call (805) 652-4525 for more information.


HELPFUL VIDEO:  Composting with City of Ventura

Educator Paul Vaksvik