On the heels of winning the Mayor’s Challenge and being recognized as one of the most water wise cities in America, it’s clear that Ventura residents are extremely mindful of water conservation and the need for continued resiliency. As a catalyst to help reduce conservation fatigue during these extended drought conditions, Ventura Water is proud to equip residents with more water-saving tools!
Coming at the end of June 2016, we are excited to announce the grand opening of our Recycled Water mobile use hauling program, where residents can come and get training, pay a fee, and be permitted to fill up containers with high-quality recycled water to be used for landscapes – instead of having to use their potable water. Training sessions will be held Tuesdays, Thursdays, and alternating Saturdays from 9-10 a.m. at the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility (VWRF), 1400 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The first training session is Tuesday, June 21. Contact the VWRF to sign up at 805-677-4131.
And that’s not all! In July 2016, we will bring you another tool in the water conservation tool belt! Ventura Water will launch WaterWise 2.0, a new turf replacement program that offers more ways to save water. Everything from turf replacement to free sprinkler nozzles and smart irrigation timers will be offered to participants who qualify! So hold off on starting that yard project and stay tuned for more information coming in July on the launch of this exciting program!
Finally, what inspires you to make sacrifices and go above and beyond the call of duty to minimize your water footprint? Also coming in July 2016 – just for fun and as a part of our annual summer awareness campaign – Ventura Water will launch Capture Conservation, a local photo contest that offers residents who have battled to conserve during the drought an opportunity to capture what they’ve done in a photo and be entered to win some really cool prizes! Whether it’s a fancy rainwater harvesting system or simply a reusable water bottle, share how you and your friends are “capturing conservation!” It’s easy… Save water, take a photo and enter to win! Check your monthly Pipeline for more details to come in July.
In fact, earlier this month, California water regulators voted to extend Gov. Jerry Brown’s emergency conservation measures that were adopted last spring, through October 2016.
This coming April, when the California snowpack is typically at its highest level, state officials will revisit the conservation plan. We also should know later this spring to what extent our local conservation efforts need to continue.
(See the State’s extended emergency regulation details here.)
The improved snowpack picture does not help Ventura, which relies on 100 percent local sources for water. Ventura remains in a Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency, requiring customers to reduce water use by 20 percent.
Ventura has started 2016 off by falling short of our conservation mandate for the month of January. In January, Ventura Water customers conserved 15.57 percent. Let’s continue to strive to make water conservation a daily, year-round habit, and reach that 20 percent mark each month.
Here are some ways to make that happen in wintertime. More tips can be found at www.saveourwater.com.
- Change your sprinkler schedule: reduce watering or turn off the sprinklers. Lawns and plants don’t need as much water in the winter. Invest in a weather-based “smart” controller or high efficiency sprinklers.
- Do not water 48 hours before or after a measurable rain event.
- Find and fix leaks now. One way to find leaks is to read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.
- Buy a rain barrel to collect and store rain water runoff. Use this water for potted plants or to wash 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 and here for a copy of the voucher.
Ventura Water offers free water conservation aids and on-site commercial and 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 email@example.com or call (805) 667-6500 to schedule a water conservation survey.
“There’s a word in Hawaiian, ‘kuleana,’ which can interchangeably mean privilege, responsibility and passion. The earth and taking care of it is everyone’s kuleana,” said Shelia Laffey, award-winning producer and director of documentaries and short dramatic films, “It’s also my ‘ kuleana’ (passion).”
Although Laffey hails from New England, and received her BA in English from Tufts University and her Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from N.Y.U., she lived in Hawaii for ten years post- college where she worked as a Program Coordinator for the National Audubon Society.
“It’s vital that we understand how intertwined we are with nature, if we forget that fact, and aren’t conscious of how we treat our planet and our limited natural resources, we risk extinction.”
Laffey exclaims that she has always been “a passionate environmentalist.” Growing up on the East Coast, she spent much of her youth outdoors and the appreciation and care for the land she learned has stayed with her.
“Love Thy Nature,” a film on which Laffey is Associate Producer, is a multi-award winning documentary filmed in five countries and narrated by Liam Neeson. The film takes a “cinematic look into the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world” by exploring how nature nourishes us.
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.
Ventura Water General Manager