Ventura Water Announces VenturaWaterPure Demonstration Facility – SIGN UP FOR A FREE TOUR


Ventura Water unveiled its new VenturaWaterPure Potable Reuse Demonstration Facility to distinguished guests on July 16 and opened the facility for regular public tours beginning on Saturday, July 18.

Ventura Water invites all members of the public to sign up for an in-depth tour of the Potable Reuse demonstration facility. Tours are every Saturday from 9-11 a.m. and are limited to 20 people per tour. Private groups interested in weekday tours can also be accommodated with advanced notice. Please sign up before noon of the Friday before the tour by clicking here or call (805) 677-4131.

VenturaWaterPure is a pilot project for the City of Ventura, which is investing in safe and sustainable ways to meet long-term water supply demands by increasing the use of recycled water. Ventura currently provides recycled water from the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility to two golf courses and landscape irrigation in the Ventura Harbor and Olivas Drive areas. Adding “potable reuse” purification technologies at the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility will extend Ventura’s use of local water sources – a proven, drought–resistant, locally developed and reliable way to be smart about water use!

There are many benefits of potable reuse in Ventura:

•          Locally controlled, reliable water supply
•          A sufficient supply to support the economy
•          A high-quality water supply
•          Reducing wastewater discharge
•          Seawater intrusion protection
•          A more diversified water supply portfolio
•          Increased water supply at a lower cost than imported water
•          Reduced impact on groundwater and river sources

Ventura Water is far from the only water agency in California seeking ways to improve water supply by leveraging wastewater resources. The multi-barrier water purification process has already been successfully used by San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange counties. Ventura Water has been investigating options for additional water reuse for many years as well. Studies have shown that potable reuse will have the largest benefit for Ventura. Ventura Water has chosen to partake in a nationwide study that evaluates blending options with other water resources prior to the delivery of drinking water to customers. Benefits in exploring this option include achieving a more diversified and sustainable water supply; improving water quality by blending ultra-pure water with high mineral content groundwater sources; and complying with the Santa Clara River Estuary Consent Decree because potable reuse enables the city to reduce the amount of treated wastewater discharged to the estuary.

For more tour information, click here.

Learn more about water re-use in Ventura here.

Left to Right: Ventura City Manager Mark Watkins, Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein and Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann attend the Ribbon Cutting ceremony on July 16 for the VenturaWaterPure Potable Reuse Demonstration Facility.

Left to Right: Ventura City Manager Mark Watkins, Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein and Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann attend the Ribbon Cutting ceremony on July 16 for the VenturaWaterPure Potable Reuse Demonstration Facility.

From Ventura Water’s July 2015 Pipeline

New Rates = New Pipes


On January 13, the Ventura Water Rate Advisory Committee presented its recommendations to the City Council. Following five public meetings, which included reviews of future operating and capital budgets and updates to other financial policies, the Committee endorsed a four-year water and wastewater rate plan. The proposed rates reflect a combined increase to the average residential water and wastewater customer of $9.68 bi-monthly (or $4.84 monthly) for the first year, proposed to be effective July 1, 2014. Rates would then increase incrementally at slightly higher amounts every July for the next three years.

If approved by our customers and the City Council, these rates will fund a moderate operational and maintenance program and an increasing capital improvement plan to replace aging pipelines and facilities. During the next four years, the new monies will replace three wells to help water supply and improve well field management operations.  With an average age of almost 50 years,16.5 miles of the 380 miles of drinking water pipes are scheduled to be replaced. Treatment facilities will also be updated at the Water Reclamation Facility, and 7.2 miles of the 300 miles of wastewater collection system pipes will be replaced.

Before the City Council conducts a public hearing on rate increases (tentatively scheduled for May), we will offer an extensive outreach program to explain why the rates are needed for the water and wastewater systems. Replacing our infrastructure at the right time and at the right price represents an investment in our local economy and will prevent costly emergency repairs and service disruptions. A notice detailing the rates and the reasons for them, as well as the date and time of the public hearing, will be mailed to all customers and property owners in March.

You are invited to read the 2014 Cost of Service Study, the basis of the rates, to understand the financial plan for Ventura’s Water and Wastewater Utilities. Complete information about the Rate Advisory Committee and its work is available at

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, Volume 4, No. 1, February 2014

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This grass is “Greener”


By Maryann Ridini Spencer

Photography by Laura Bauer,

When most people think of the dream lawn they’d like for their home, they often think “sprawling green” and “park-like.”  However, according to Landscape Designer Laura Bauer, that’s not really practical living in Southern California.  Furthermore, there are many beautiful grasses native to Ventura’s climate that make a gorgeous “green” lawn and that utilize half the resources required of a traditional lawn.

“There’s a lot of experimentation going on with low-water, low-care grass substitutes,” said Bauer. “Right now these options are more expensive compared to standard sod grass, however, these lawns require less maintenance (mowing), less water and less fertilizers and pesticides.  It’s been documented that 40-70% of a person’s water bill goes to taking care of outside landscape, so over time, homeowners can see a significant savings.”

Bauer knows of what she speaks. She ran a garden maintenance company for 10 years in Pasadena and also taught and gave workshops for the non-profit Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, Inc. ( Last year, Bauer moved back to Ventura to provide consultation and design services through her company, Bauer Fine Gardening, using California native and drought-tolerant plants.

Great Grass Alternatives

Bauer recommends Field Sedge (Botanical name:  Carex praegracilis), a low-growing, bright green creeper that grows into a dense lawn.  It can be mowed, or left to grow as long as you see fit.

“Creeping Red Fescue (Botanical name:  Festuca rubra ‘Molate’) which is dark green with very fine blades, also makes a great lawn, especially for shadier areas,” adds Bauer.  “It can be mowed or left natural.”

California Bentgrass (Botanical name: Agrostis pallens) and Blue Gramma Grass (Botanical name:  Bouteloua gracilis) are also alternatives.  These grasses produce fine, short blades and are available only in seed form.

“Buffalo Grass (Botanical name:  Bouteloua dactyloides), although not native to California, has been bred to create a hybrid variety, ‘UC Verde,’ which has been developed for the California market,” said Bauer.

When choosing plants and shrubs for your landscape, Bauer suggests the best plant selections will depend on the features of your landscape.  For example, is your property coastal or inland?  Is the area primarily sunny or shady?  Is your soil sand or heavy clay?

“There are many closely related native California plants that have different needs and require different types of exposure and soil,” said Bauer.  “The best thing a person can do is to consult with a landscape or nursery professional and read up on native plants by visiting such online websites as:,, and

“Often times,” continued Bauer, “I’ll meet with homeowners to do just do a consultation. I’ll evaluate their soil and property and make some recommendations on what will work best for them.  I’ll give them a short list that serves as a basis and blueprint for everything else to follow.”

Background Plants for Attractiveness, Stability and Color

Bauer suggests including solid background plants in your landscape that are evergreen and attractive year-round, blooming in season. Samplings of these plants include:  California Lilac or California Blueblossom (Botanical name: Ceanothus).  These gorgeous plants have dark green leaves and dazzling blue and white flowers in early spring.  Different species also serve as ground covers, shrubs or small trees.

Another large group is the Manzanitas (Botanical name: Arctostaphylos). They have waxy green leaves and sculptural red bark as well as small white, or pink flowers in mid-winter.  These plants also serve as an important winter source of nectar for hummingbirds and bees. Again, different species can also be used as ground covers, shrubs or small trees.
Sagebrush (Botanical name: Artemisia) has delicate, aromatic silver foliage that presents well against green plants.  Straight species of California Sagebrush are large shrubs; but there are several low-growing varieties that are better for gardens such as ‘Montara,’ ‘Canyon Gray’ and ‘David’s Choice.’

California Buckwheats (Botanical name: Eriogonum): Buckwheats range from small to large shrubs and produce showy flowers from summer to fall.  They are also considered an important nectar source for insects and bees.

California Sage (Botanical name: Salvia) are the plants that smell so delicious and fragrant after a spring rain.  The more common native sages (Black, Purple, or White) have lavender or white flowers in spring and thick, sticky leaves. They are dormant in summer.
Toyon (Botanical name: Heteromeles arbutifolia), a large shrub or small multi-trunk tree has fragrant white flowers in summer and bright red berries in winter.

Splashy Color

Some of the more dramatic natives for spring color according to Bauer include the Monkeyflower (Botanical name: Mimulus). Monkeyflower stays green all year on the coast and will bloom with a variety of colors – orange, yellow, white or red.

Some other plants that live well with California natives include many varieties of succulents, Mediterranean herbs like rosemary and lavender and other Mediterranean-climate plants that grow in South Africa, Chile, Peru and Australia.

“I work with clients of all income levels and budgets,” said Bauer.  “The main focus is to have a healthy, thriving landscape that requires low maintenance and that is in tune with the natural environment so as to save resources and promote the natural habitat.”


Contact Laura at: 626-437-9459
PHOTO CREDITS: Photography by Laura Bauer,

Improving an Existing Irrigation System


Improving an existing irrigation system

If you already have a sprinkler system, it’s easy to convert it to a drip irrigation system. You simply use the existing supply lines and replace some of the sprinkler heads with drip irrigation supply heads.  Here are some online resources that can help you learn how to convert your existing system to a water-efficient drip irrigation system. READ MORE.

From Save Our Water Sprinklers 101

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Sprinklers 101 for Homeowners:




  1.  Appropriate plant selection:  Select trees, shrubs and groundcovers based on their adaptability to your region’s soil and climate. California has an abundance of beautiful native plants which generally have lower water demands, fewer pest problems and less fertilizer needs than plants that have been brought into our state.  The Sunset Plant Finder is a good tool to find the right plants for your area.
  2. The Right Plants for the Right Soil:  Knowing your soil and selecting the right kind of plants for your area is an important part of a water-wise landscape.
  3. Limit your grass:  Grass can be a huge source of outdoor water waste.  Consider cutting back or eliminating the amount of turf you have at your house.  Or if your family enjoys a large grassy yard, make sure you have a water-efficient sprinkler system.
  4. Efficient irrigation:  Most people water their landscaping more than it needs.  The greatest waste of outdoor water is applying too much too often.
  5. Mulch is good:  Use mulch wherever possible. A good mulch conserves water by significantly reducing moisture evaporation from the soil. Mulch also reduces weed populations, prevents soil compaction and keeps soil temperatures more moderate.
  6. Appropriate maintenance:  One of the best benefits of a water-wise landscape is that it requires less maintenance.  A well-designed landscape can decrease maintenance by as much as 50 percent through reduced mowing; once-a-year mulching; elimination of non-California-friendly plants; and more efficient watering techniques.


Ventura Water’s Waterwise Tips: 5 Easy Green Ideas



Earth Day is Monday, April 22, 2013.  Here are 5 easy  tips that will benefit Mother Earth and your wallet!

1.  Save Energy by washing your laundry in COLD water only! Energy used by washing machines goes to heating the water.  Choosing to launder on the cold cycle usually costs 5-10 times less than using warmer settings.

2. Wash your dirty dishes in the dishwasher vs. hand-washing.  Washing dishes in the dishwasher (vs. hand-washing them) will not only SAVE MORE water, it will save you money on your water bill.  Make sure you only turn on the dishwasher when it’s fully loaded.

3. Drink Tap vs. buying bottled water.  It’s actually safer and more regulated than bottled water.  It will also SAVE you money and save on the environment.

Get YOUR cool water bottle at!


4. Check  for water leaks around your home.  Check regularly for water leaks and make sure you have no water leaks and that your smart irrigation timers are working correctly.  In Ventura, water early or later in the day to avoid evaporation.

5.  Grow beautiful native plants in your garden.  Spring time is a time for planting beautiful trees, bushes and flowers.  Go for plants native to the Ventura area that require less (or no water) to grow.  Visit:

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Ventura Water’s Waterwise Tip: 5 Easy ways to SAVE Water in the Kitchen



5 Easy Ways to SAVE Water in the Kitchen

•Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.

•Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, then reuse it to water houseplants.

•Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle.  This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.

•Don’t use running water to thaw food.  Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.

•Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.

When you save water, you save money on your utility bills too!


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Ventura Water’s Waterwise Tip: Save WATER and MONEY in the bath!


  • If you cut your shower time by two minutes and install a low flow showerhead, you’ll use only 2 1/2 gallons of water per minute.  This can save 15 gallons per shower!
  • Turn off your faucet while brushing your teeth can save you 6 gallons of water.  (A bathroom faucet uses 6 gallons per minute).  So wet your brush, turn off the water, brush, then turn on the water to rinse.
  • When shaving, partially fill the sink with water to clean the blade.  This saves 6-12 gallons of water per shave!
  • If you desire a bath.  Fill the tub half full.  A full bath tub uses 36 gallons of water.  This saves 18 gallons of water per bath!
  • Fix faucet leaks.  A steady dripping water leak can waste 15-20 gallons of water PER DAY!