Please Keep Conserving!

 

everydropThank you for your continued conservation efforts. In June, our customers reduced water use by 21.85 percent, compared to 24.55 percent in May. Conserving during the dry summer and fall months is critical to ensuring that our water supplies last!  Want a professional opinion on how to be water efficient in and around your home? Ventura Water continues to offer free on-site water conservation surveys to commercial and residential water customers to equip our customers to be more water efficient.  Please contact Customer Care at myvtawater@cityofventura.net or call (805) 667-6500 to schedule a water conservation survey.

Use the Water Calculator tool to help schedule your irrigation timers more efficiently at www.venturacountygardening.com/calc/.  Learn more by clicking here.

From the July 2016 Ventura Water Pipeline

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

Ventura Water: Teaching our Youth about the sustainability of our water sources

Research shows that when children are taught about sustainable practices from a young age, they become stewards of the environment. This segment of Sustainable Ventura News takes a trip with some young students to VenturaWaterPure’s Potable Reuse Demonstration Facility and some of community’s natural habitats.

The VenturaWaterPure’s Potable Reuse Demonstration Facility is open for FREE tours to the public on Saturdays, 9am to 11am, and will be limited to 20 people. Please sign up for public tours before noon the Friday before by BOOKING A tour and either calling (805) 677-4131 and/or visiting: http://venturawater.net (and navigate to the VenturaWaterPure icon).

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

Ventura Water Conservation Efforts Improved Very Little in March 2015; Keep Conserving! Helpful Tips

SaveourWater

The conservation efforts of Ventura Water customers fell significantly in March compared to February, when our conservation efforts were collectively much better. New figures show that water use was down only 7.16 percent in March 2015 compared to March 2013. In February 2015, water use by Ventura Water customers was down 13.44 percent compared to February 2013. (see chart and graph below)

(A good measure of how our customers are doing is comparing this year’s water use levels to date to those in 2013, before conservation measures were requested and later, required. The Ventura City Council first called for voluntary conservation in February 2014.)

Ventura is in a Stage 3 Water Emergency requiring customers to reduce water use by 20 percent. We all need to work toward reducing water use more and making 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.)

What else can you do to cut water use?

Outside the house:

  • Minimize outside irrigation. Turn down or turn off the sprinklers.
  • Spring is the perfect time to replace your old, tired lawn with a beautiful, new water-wise garden, allowing your drought-tolerant plants time to become acclimated before warmer weather arrives. Need ideas and inspiration? Visit http://venturacountygardening.com.

Inside the house:

  • Take shorter showers.
  • Install low-flow showerheads and low-water-use toilets.
  • Turn off that faucet! A normal faucet runs at the rate of 3-5 gallons a minute. Turn off the water while shaving, brushing your teeth and washing your face.
  • Fix water leaks and leaky pipes.
  • When using the washing machine and dishwasher, run only full loads.
  • Dump the trash. Never use the toilet as a wastebasket.
  • If you have an old washing machine, replace it with one that has a load-size selector and variable water-level controls.

 

VWoneVwater2From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, April 2015

Ventura Water Customers Reduce Water Use 7.05% in 2014

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Ventura Water’s customers reduced their water consumption by 7.05 percent in 2014 compared to 2013– a significant annual decrease, but nowhere near the mandatory 20 percent reduction required under the city of Ventura’s Stage 3 Water Emergency declared last fall or the state’s call for a 20 percent reduction.

Only in the month of December of 2014 did Ventura Water customers overall reduce water use by at least 20 percent. Total water use was down 29.95 percent last month compared to December 2013. Water officials attribute last month’s large decrease to the rain and cool weather that resulted in residents turning off their sprinklers. In December 2014, 3.52 inches of rainfall was measured at Ventura City Hall and 4.9 inches fell at Casitas Dam.

Smaller water use reductions were recorded for most months in 2014, including a 16.16 percent drop during October 2014 compared to October 2013. However, customers’ overall water use skyrocketed by 27.85 percent in January 2014, when it was unseasonably warm and dry, which is why the City Council called for voluntary conservation at the beginning of February 2014.

RatesFrom Ventura Water’s January 2015 Pipeline

FREE Water Surveys Offered to Residential Customers

WaterSurvey

Ventura Water is helping residential customers find ways to save water by offering free on-site water surveys. The Residential Water Survey program is a free service to help single-family customers save water inside and outside the home. The survey, generally about one hour long and conducted by a Water Conservation Specialist, includes:

  • A review of your water bill
  • Instructions on how to read your water meter
  • An indoor survey of toilets, showers and faucets for leaks
  • An outdoor survey of grass type and identifying irrigation system leaks
  • Free water-saving devices like low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators
  • Water-saving advice based on your home results

Customers will receive a summary checklist at the end of the survey. To schedule a survey, contact Customer Care at (805) 667-6500 or myvtawater@cityofventura.net.

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From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, October 2014 Issue

Free Water Wise Class: Composting & Urban Soils Workshop, October 18

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FREE WATER WISE CLASS:  Composting & Urban Soils Workshop
Saturday October 18 at 10:00 am to 11:30 am
at
Cornucopia Community Garden in Ventura
Find out how to create a healthy backyard mulch and compost and worm casting from your food and yard waste. Healthy soils conserve water, reduce need for pesticides, and help with retaining stormwater.

RSVP for the FREE WATER WISE CLASSComposting & Urban Soils Workshop, Saturday, October 18. RSVP via Eventbrite, CLICK HERE.

Turf Alternatives – A Beautiful “Green” Solution to the Traditional Lawn

waterwise-logo

     While they are appealing to the eye, green sprawling landscapes and lawns use a tremendous amount of water and energy in order to thrive.  In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that the average American household uses 320 gallons of water per day. In Southern California homes, 50-60% of household water usage goes to maintain outdoor landscapes.  On the average in the U.S., 1 trillion gallons of water is wasted annually due to leaks and wasteful practices.

     Green lawn lovers have another concern as last month, in facing what may be California’s driest year in recorded history, Ventura Water asked customers to make a 10% reduction in their water consumption in order to conserve our local water supply.

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So what are the options?

     On Saturday, March 1, 2014, Professional Garden Landscape Designer Lisa Burton (Nature by Design, nbdgardens.com), served up some promising and beautiful solutions to a packed house.  Kicking off the new 2014 Water Wise Series, the free “Turf Alternatives”  Gardening Class  was held at the City Public Works Maintenance Yard on Sanjon Road.

Professional Garden Landscape Designer Lisa Burton (nbdgardens.com) talks about Turf Alternatives to a packed house

Professional Garden Landscape Designer Lisa Burton (nbdgardens.com) talks about Turf Alternatives to a packed house

“There really is no better place for being responsible stewards of the earth than our own back (or front) yards,” said Burton.  “If people like green lawns, there are a number of gorgeous, native appropriate alternatives.  The same goes for beautiful flowering plants and shrubs.  Think of how great you’ll feel when you see your beautiful landscape and garden working with nature vs. against it  — and how much money and resources you’ll save!

     “We have to come to terms that we live in a semi-arid, Mediterranean climate where lush green lawns and traditional landscaping just don’t make sense. We have to think differently about the choices we make including replacing the lawn idea with a balanced garden ecosystem that uses less water, is appropriate to the climate in which we live, and supports our local wildlife such as birds, butterflies and bees. It means landscaping with a vast and beautiful selection of California native and Mediterranean plants and turf alternatives that require less water and maintenance. I like to call it ‘ReWilding the Landscape’. A water-wise garden is so much more interesting than lawn anyway and will help save the homeowner from feeling the pinch of rising water rates.”

     For over a decade, Burton, a Certified Sustainable and Wildlife Landscape Professional by the National Wildlife Federation, has been a recognized leader in sustainable landscape design.  Her specialty is installing lawn alternatives, Ocean Friendly Gardens and Wildlife Habitat Gardens.

     “These classes couldn’t be more timely,” said City of Ventura Environmental Specialist Jill Sarick. “We started a series of  ‘Water Wise’ classes in 2013, and they were so well received, we brought them back by popular demand.  The educational goal continues to be to help the public increase the vitality of their landscape while reducing their outdoor water use and green waste generation.”

     Ventura Water presents the Water Wise Gardening class series in partnership with Ewing Irrigation and Green Thumb Nursery.

     The next class, “Edible Harvest,” to be held on April 5 at Green Thumb Nursery in Ventura, will explain how to incorporate edibles into a landscape. The class series runs through June 2014 and takes place one Saturday a month from 10:00-11:30am.  For more information about class dates, topics and locations as well as to register for the Water Wise Gardening Classes, visit: cityofventura.net/water/landscape or call (805) 652-4501.

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Holiday WATER Saving Ideas

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During the holidays, family and friends gather for celebrations and that translates into more cooking and entertaining, more laundry,  more dishes, and using more water!     Here are some helpful tips from WaterSense and the Environmental Protection Agency that will help you ENJOY the season and SAVE WATER!

kitchensink

In the kitchen

Put it a plug in it. It’s a good rule of thumb to plug the drain when washing dishes in the sink or use a plastic wash basin filled with soapy water. This will significantly reduce the amount of water you waste by letting the tap run while you’re scrubbing holiday dishes.

Load it up! Don’t just fill up your guests this season—fill up your dishwasher. According to ENERGY STAR, dishwashers built before 1994 can use as much as 10 gallons of water per cycle. Ensuring your dishwasher is fully loaded each time you run it decreases the number of loads you’re doing and water you’re wasting.

Scrape the scraps. When plates return to the kitchen with food scraps on them, be water-efficient by scraping or wiping them off rather than rinsing every particle away with water.

Pour a pitcher full of savings. Instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool, save water by filling a pitcher with water and storing it in the fridge. An ice-cold pitcher of water makes a great addition to your holiday table.

Let the fridge do the work. Instead of running hot water over frozen foods, thaw them out in the fridge overnight. Not only will you cut your water use, but you’ll also save the energy required to heat the water.

Give your garbage disposal a holiday. Most garbage disposal systems use water to break down and dispose of wastes, which can impact your household’s water use. This season, consider adding food wastes to a compost pile instead of tossing them down the garbage disposal.

To learn more water-saving tips to use this holiday season and how to save water all year, visit the WaterSense Be the Change page.

From EPA.gov/WaterSense