Fourth Year of Drought: What you can do?

DroughtMany of Ventura Water customers are already conserving and the City thanks you for your continued efforts.  This water shortage has been a multi-year drought, which is not unprecedented. California’s drought in the 1990s lasted seven years.

Since conservation has been encouraged to be a way of life, the new Water Shortage Rates adopted by the City Council on June 8, 2015, do not establish an allocation, but rather build upon the existing tiered structure to encourage further conservation. Customers will see a comparison on their Ventura Water utility bill in July or August. This bill will show a side-by-side comparison of what a customer used and owes with the existing three-tier structure on the right side of the bill. On the left side of the bill, the customer will see what the same usage will be charged under the new four-tier Water Shortage Rates that take effect Sept. 1

Customers can prevent having their bills go up by conserving. Ventura Water hopes that this notification will give customers time to make decisions about how much water they would like to use for the rest of the summer and fall months.

Customers will also notice on their July/August bill, the first tier has been split into two so that the new tier one, which is 0 to 6 units (one unit equals 748 gallons) is not expected to conserve at all. The customer committee who recommended this first Tier was concerned about small users who were already conserving. At the same time, the committee recognized everyone needs to conserve something in order maximize the City’s diminishing supplies. Tier 2, which is 7 to 14 units for a single family residential customer, is expected to save but not as much as Tier 3 and Tier 4, which are primarily used for outdoor irrigation. 

Since September of 2014, the City has asked all customers to only irrigate two days a week and not between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. A single-family residence home uses up to 60 percent of their water outdoors. So to reach 20 percent water savings, a household can do so without going to extreme indoor restrictions. The City has collectively saved over 20 percent the months when we have had rainy and cool weather. Those are the months that people instinctively turn off their sprinklers and do not hose water. 

Why change the rate structure at all during a water shortage? First, the city seeks to insure that the community conserves so we have enough water while supplies continue to diminish during this drought. Second, important infrastructure improvements and the replacement of very old pipes and facilities would be delayed when revenues fall with decreased water sales. Seventy-five percent of Water Operations have fixed costs regardless of whether one drop or millions of gallons of water are delivered.  Ventura Water’s salary and benefits total only a quarter of the overall budget. Most expenses come from infrastructure improvements that keep the water system up and running. In contrast, 75 percent of revenues come from water usage to encourage customers to use water efficiently. So, these new rates keep the water utility revenue neutral and fiscally sound during a shortage. This helps Ventura Water maintain progress for the future and allows us to bring an incentive program that will roll out this summer.

For more conservation tips or to request a free water survey visit us at www.venturawater.net or call 805-667-6500.

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, June 2015

Next on Tap: City to Consider a Water-Saving Incentive Program for Customers

Ventura

Following a recommendation from the Water Shortage Task Force, Ventura Water will ask the City Council to establish an incentive program for water customers who undertake steps to reduce their outside water use.

Replacing your thirsty lawn with artificial turf or installing water-saving irrigation devices would possibly be among those practices included in an incentive plan aimed at boosting conservation.

“Many California cities, including Santa Barbara and Long Beach, have incentive programs to promote water efficiency and motivate customers to save water, and there’s an overwhelming public interest here for an incentive plan too,” says Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein.

The hope is that an incentive program would help customers achieve their 20 percent water reduction, since conservation alone isn’t yet achieving that level of reduction that the city requires during the Stage 3 water shortage. If approved by the Council, the incentive program could be underway by the summer or fall of 2015.

Because most discretionary 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 or synthetic turf. Some properties could qualify for rebates in both categories.

Irrigation efficiency devices may include a rain sensor or shut-off device; a smart controller that waters only according to climate conditions; and rotating nozzles with a pressure regulator. Applicants could receive a rebate of up to $300 per applicant and specific rebate amounts for the devices will vary.

For turf replacement, a rebate of $2 per square foot, up to $1,600 per properties, will be available for applicants that participate in a landscape survey. Applicants could also receive a rebate for applying compost and mulch.

Ventura Water is considering budgeting $825,000 to run the incentive program this year during the mandatory 20 percent water-reduction drought stage.

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, January 2015

One Stop Gardening: VenturaCountyGardening.com

VenturaCountyGardening.com

News of California’s drought is everywhere. It’s a growing crisis that has us all rethinking how we use water. Since 40-60% of water is used outdoors, replacing your grass with a beautiful, native garden makes good sense. But, where do we begin? Have no fear, venturacountygardening.com is here!

This easy-to-navigate, interactive website is specifically designed to assist residents of Ventura County with helpful information covering what to plant, when and where to plant, as well as how to best irrigate, care and maintain landscaped areas. The site offers beautiful garden tours and impressive landscape galleries to help users plan and select from a variety of trees, shrubs, plants, and ground cover which they can then “Add” to their own personal (“My List”) online garden list.

Below is an overview of what is found in each section at VenturaCountyGardening.com.

Garden Tours

When users click on the “Garden Tour” tab located just underneath the navigation bar, a variety of beautiful gardens — from Ocean Friendly Gardens, to Ventura County Mediterranean Gardens, Coastal Japanese Gardens and other varieties — appear.

Click on a garden tour of your choice, and as you move your curser over the landscape’s boxed areas, the name of the plant or tree type will appear along with other vital information regarding the growth pattern, height and water requirements. Click on an individual box, and a larger image of the individual plant or tree will appear with additional gardening information.

At the top-right area of the page, you’ll also notice the words “Anatomy,” “Culture” and “Design.” Click on Anatomy, and you’ll find information on the plant type and plant flowering. Click on Culture and you’ll ascertain the growth patterns and the soil and sun exposure that is best. Click on Design and you’ll discover information on plant uses, the best locations to plant, and more.

When you click on the box “Add,” you will add this plant to “My List,” your personal list. You can add or remove plants at any time from your list.

To navigate back to the website’s home page, click on the “Main Menu” tab from any page on the site.

Garden Gallery

An impressive array of front yards, backyards, hillsides, walkways, entries, and patios can be found under the “Garden Gallery” tab.

In the same fashion as in the Garden Tours, click on a particular gallery, and you’ll be presented with a selection of tours. When you hover your curser over the white-boxed areas, information regarding individual plants— such as their name, growth pattern, water usage and sun exposure— will be available. Click on the image itself, and you’ll be able to access the Anatomy, Culture and Design buttons. You’ll also be able to add any of these plants to “My List.”

Plants

Under the “Plants” tab, galleries of gorgeous low maintenance trees, low maintenance shrubs, vines, ground covers, low water perennials, and ornamental grasses and clumping plants are visible.

Click on a particular gallery, and you’ll be given an A-Z selection of plant varieties in the category you have chosen. Click on any individual image, and you’ll be presented with access to the Anatomy, Culture and Design buttons for each plant. You’ll also be able to add any of these plants to “My List.”

Resources

The “Resources” tab offers helpful information on how to design and install a water wise garden as well as efficient irrigation methods and suggestions on how to easily and effectively maintain your landscape.

Under the Table of Contents section, click on “Introduction,” “Garden Tours” or any words in blue, and you’ll be taken to information on that particular section.

If you happen to get lost in the site, or you would just like to return to the site’s home page, just click on the “Home” tab on the top left hand corner of the page.

Watering Guide

Under the “Watering Guide” tab, information about watering, watering device types, common irrigation challenges, sample irrigation schedules, and general tips can be found.

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Heartbleed Bug and Internet Safety

Bug

You may have read about the Heartbleed Bug and the security risk it poses for electronic Internet data. Many of our customers access their billing and water usage history at My Ventura Water, our online portal. Our IT professionals have assessed the risks and as a precaution, have applied a patch to ensure data integrity. Also, for sensitive information such as credit cards, there have always been multiple layers of encryption to provide reliable security. However, this is a good reminder that changing your Internet passwords regularly is a smart habit.

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, April 2014

Green your laundry for water savings

Woman Emptying Filling Washing Machine Model Released

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, washing and drying your laundry is one of the most energy- and water-intensive chores in the home.  Through cleaning, maintenance and the purchase of environmentally-friendly products YOU can SAVE on ENERGY, REDUCE WATER USE and IMPROVE the INDOOR AIR QUALITY IN YOUR HOME!.  READ MORE.

Visit:  VenturaWater.net and VenturaWater.org

Save Water in Office Buildings

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According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), commercial and institutional buildings use a large portion of municipally supplied water in the United States.  Since there are so many businesses making up this sector, the EPA has put together a guide outlining some great ways to conserve water that will save the environment as well as assist businesses with $$$ savings on their utility costs.  CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND DOWNLOAD THE PDF.

Visit:  VenturaWater.net and VenturaWater.org

Celebrate the First Day of Summer!

 

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1.  Plant a Ventura-Native Plant to celebrate!, Visit:  Ventura.WaterSavingPlants.com

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2. Buy local – Ride a bike, carpool or walk to the great Certified Farmer’s Markets in Ventura, http://vccfarmersmarkets.com/

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3.  Enjoy the natural beauty around you!  Take a hike, visit the Ventura Harbor, visit one of Ventura’s many amazing parks, shop and dine in downtown Ventura!  Visit Ventura

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4.  Pack a eco-conscious picnic using recyclable utensils, dishes and napkins, fresh and local produce and reusable picnic basket.

5.  Volunteer Ventura!   Volunteer to take care of our environment.  Visit:  http://www.cityofventura.net/volunteer

SAVE OUR WATER’S “Sprinklers 101” web resource designed to help YOU save water and money!

SaveourWaterSAVE OUR WATER, created in 2009 by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), has educated consumers on the many different ways indoor and outdoor household water usage can be reduced.

Fifty percent of residential water usage goes to lawn and outdoor landscaping.  So, this past May,  SAVE OUR WATER unveiled the NEW web-based resource,  Sprinklers 101, providing all types of online tools and information about water-efficient residential irrigation. Check it out!

Visit:  Saveourh20.org!

5 Simple Spring Green Cleaners

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These 5 simple green cleaners are a safe, easy, eco-friendly and economical!

Glass cleaner: Mix 1/4 c. vinegar with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle.  Spray the mixture on glass and wipe clean with a reusable cloth.

Disinfectant:  Mix 2 tsp. borax, 4 T. vinegar, 3 c. hot water and 1/4 tsp. liquid castile soap.  Put in a spray bottle and wipe on a surface with a damp reusable cloth.

Countertop and tile cleaner:  Mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part baking soda with 4 parts water.  Put in a spray bottle and use a reusable sponge to wipe down surface area.

Tile Floor cleaner:  Mix 4 c. of white distilled vinegar with approximately a gallon of hot water and a few drops of pure lemon oil (or other preferred scented oil) to the mix.

Toilet bowl cleaner:  Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda and scrub!  You can also wipe down the outside of the toilet with  straight vinegar.

Visit:  VenturaWater.org and VenturaWater.net

Spring Forward on March 10, 2013 Ventura! Reset Your Clock and Your Sprinklers

CheckSprinkler'slogo

On Sunday, March 10, 2013, we “spring forward” with Daylight Saving Time, so move your clocks ahead one hour.  This is also a good time to check your landscape irrigation watering system for leaks.  Check to make sure it is set according to local standards.  CLICK HERE to find the Watering Guide for the City of Ventura.

When the days are longer and the temperatures are higher, it’s important to take advantage of the lower evaporation rates by watering early in the morning or in the evening when the temperatures are cooler.  When you water during the cooler parts of the day, it’s better for your landscape and you can save up to 25 gallons each time you water.

SaveourWater

Click here for more information from Save Our Water!