Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers = SMART & Water Wise Yard Maintenance

Do you know the difference between a traditional Irrigation Controller vs. a Weather-Based Irrigation Controller? There’s a BIG DIFFERENCE.  WATCH this “Sustainable Ventura News” segment to find out how you can conserve as much as 13,500 gallons of water per year per household!

Are you a City of Ventura resident interested in awesome rebates offered with the Water Wise 2.0 Incentive Program, visit: and

Watch Sustainable Ventura News at Ventura County Star online on the NEWS & LIFESTYLE pages (and also SEARCH “Sustainable Ventura” or “Maryann Ridini Spencer” at

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.


Capture El Niño Rains with a Rain Barrel or Cistern

1nD36BUoXb6mfkNcFilU6eu6AgyXl7LL8D1UR6vQ0wR9PBS_bC6jm-suZ0QEZE319qby_A29Nx394nkNzuB1FFrMg_sR4aWPCaPOZCYhmqTElGWwrZ6DTH8k-czlDoDQwozyNhVOfH3gSnmn9zciDFAn16b1q4ya2n5d8XA=s0-d-e1-ftWith heavy rains predicted through spring, plan to capture some of that rainwater by investing in a rain barrel or cistern! You can use your harvested rainwater for many non-potable household water demands like watering potted plants and washing your car, grill or windows.

Ventura Water and the City of Ventura Environmental Sustainability Division, in cooperation with Smith Pipe & Supply, are pleased to offer Ventura residents a Channel/Bushman 50-gallon rain barrel at the discounted price of $45 plus tax ($92 retail value). Present this voucher at Smith Pipe & Supply, 3060 Sherwin Ave. in Ventura to receive the discount on up to two rain barrels per customer or residential address. Please bring proof of your City of Ventura residency, such as your Ventura Water or other utility bill. These rain barrels are for non-potable water use only and the program is subject to availability. Click here to learn more, or to download the voucher, click here.

Click here to learn more about rainwater harvesting!

From Ventura Water’s January 2016 Pipeline

When it’s raining, give your sprinklers a break!

tMcn3EoqggFbQviPEsq40zR8l5MIbW5XorFFtLu3vMnsvWNSEY3Odi15dClGqEaWLiZNTiL2UWcY5Fj6mUm011-dADj4pbXb_QTabWxB1XYyA9m6vZEp19uLTx6wKLXeLREzN3zAIs1lz8PbmKSf2W40gEV1drnheA1sJ54=s0-d-e1-ftReminder to all Ventura Water customers: Please do not water 48 hours before and after a measurable rain event, and also don’t forget to shut off your irrigation controllers during rain events too! The State Water Resources Control Board has adopted an expanded emergency regulation as California faces a fifth year of historic drought, and watering during or with 48 hours after a rain event is among the new prohibitions.
Prohibited water use in California:

  • Washing down sidewalks and driveways
  • Watering outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes excess runoff
  • Washing a motor vehicle with a hose, unless the hose has a shut-off nozzle
  • Operating a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is part of a recirculating system
  • Irrigating turf or ornamental landscapes during and 48 hours before and after measurable precipitation
  • The serving of drinking water other than upon request in eating or drinking establishments
  • Limit outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with potable water to no more than two days per week between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Operators of hotels and motels shall provide guests the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily

READ MORE in Ventura Water’s Pipeline for January 2016, CLICK HERE.

Congratulations to Jo Marsh, winner of the “Hey Ventura, What’s your shower song” contest at the Golden Lawn Event!


Left to Right, Debbie Fox, Jo Marsh and Debra Martinez a representative of Ventura Water.

Congratulations to Jo Marsh, the winner of the “Hey Ventura, What’s your shower song” contest Saturday at the Golden Lawn Event. Jo won a beautfiul diamond necklace donated by Debbie Fox of Fox Fine Jewelry! Thank you Debbie Fox for all your hard work and for encouraging the community to conserve our precious resources.

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 or call 805-667-6500.

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, June 2015

Ventura Water Conservation Efforts in April; Please Keep Conserving!

New figures show that water use by Ventura Water customers was down 12.69 percent in the month of April 2015 compared to April 2013. The year-to-date reduction in water use by customers overall by the end of April was 9.36 percent compared to 2013.

Ventura is in a Stage 3 Water Emergency requiring customers to reduce water use by 20 percent. Please keep trying to reduce use and make water 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.) A new rebate incentive program to encourage lawn removal is coming as well.

Ventura Water offers free water conservation aids and on-site residential water surveys to help our customers save water. Use the New Water Calculator tool to help schedule your irrigation timers more efficiently. Learn more by clicking here.

Please contact Customer Care at or call (805) 667-6500 to schedule a water survey.

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, May 2015

FREE “Control Your Controllers” Water Wise Workshop June 6, 10:00-11:30am



FREE Workshop June 6, 2015


“Control Your Controllers”

City of Ventura Sanjon Maintenance Yard

336 Sanjon Road

Ventura 93002

Refreshments Served


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: 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 Conservation Incentive Program for Customers Coming Summer 2015

CaDontWaste web dept imagesYard 720x256

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:
  • 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:

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.