Congratulations! Year-to-Date Water Use Exceeds 20% Reduction Target!

New figures show that customer water use was down 38 percent last month (August) compared to August 2013, allowing Ventura Water to exceed our MiFHyajnpdldkAX7Us6eCCjXjcrNWKAupc1c2P1f1uUy1O3w_0m6zzBDy3By8gNeEwhiB8ZVFkXfAh9u3vpkGCJhvgBFLA1V7K1TiILxcSxZwVh7ySmo5bfjV_OMZQiViE4E4ETdTTy9Bi6LA6GL1ysU_YRdoP0UHMxLph0=s0-d-e1-ft20 percent annual water reduction goal for the year so far!

By the end of August, the year-to-date reduction in water use by our customers was almost 23 percent! August was the second consecutive month that our water use reduction target has been met or exceeded, demonstrating again that Ventura Water customers are committed to meeting the challenges of conserving water.

Remember: Ventura declared a Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency requiring customers to reduce water use by 20 percent. (See the details here.)

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 myvtawater@cityofventura.net or call (805) 667-6500 to schedule a water survey.

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, September 2015

Cooler May Temperatures Led to Lower Water Use in May

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New figures show that water use by Ventura Water customers was 28.12 percent lower last month (May) compared to May 2013. We believe the large reduction in water use during May is largely due to the late rain we experienced and cooler-than-average temperatures during most of the month. We appreciate how our customers responded to the cooler weather by lowing their water use!
 
The year-to-date reduction in water use by customers overall by the end of May still fell short of our 20 percent goal, however. Year-to-date, water use overall by Ventura Water customers is down 13.12 percent compared to the same time this year in 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! Let’s hit that 20 percent goal for the entire year to date!
 
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 myvtawater@cityofventura.net or call (805) 667-6500 to schedule a water survey.

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, June 2015

Check Pipeline for Details About New Water Wise Incentive Program

Keep checking your monthly Pipeline e-newsletter from Ventura Water for details about the new conservation Incentive Program for customers coming this summer!

Pipeline covers the latest news about Ventura’s water, wastewater and stormwater services, as well as insights from General Manager Shana Epstein. Upcoming issues will have details of the new financial incentives and rebate program coming this summer from Ventura Water to “wise-up” your landscape.

Water Wise Incentive graphicThe Ventura City Council approved a new incentive program on March 9. 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 (restrictions apply); and hardscapes like concrete patios not eligible.

  • For smaller landscape areas that are converted: turf removal rebate is capped at $800.
  • For  larger landscape areas that are converted: 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.

Details: www.cityofventura.net/water/landscape

Need ideas and inspiration for a gorgeous water-wise garden with little or no grass? Visit www.venturacountygardening.com

Read past issues of Pipeline here

Attend Neighborhood Council Meetings and June 8 Public Hearing on Water Shortage Rates

Ventura Water GM Shana Epstein leads a Town Hall meeting held April 29. She discussed water rates, the Water Shortage Emergency Contingency Plan, a rebate program for turf removal and other efforts by Ventura Water to manage the drought.

Ventura Water GM Shana Epstein leads a Town Hall meeting held April 29. She discussed water rates, the Water Shortage Emergency Contingency Plan, a rebate program for turf removal and other efforts by Ventura Water to manage the drought.

You are invited to attend a public hearing on the proposed new water shortage rates and codifying the Water Shortage Stages, scheduled for 6 p.m., June 8 in the Ventura City Council Chambers, 501 Poli Street. Or, tune in to CAPS-TV Channel 15 on June 8 to watch the meeting, or see it live at www.cityofventura.net/video.

The new proposed rates with an additional fourth water-use tier prioritize conservation and full water revenue loss recovery/revenue neutrality. (Read the Water Shortage Rate Study and the 2014 Cost of Service Study here.)

Customers may also attend one of these meetings for more information:

  • Wednesday, June 3, 6:30 p.m.: Westside Community Council, Bell Arts Factory, 432 N. Ventura Ave.

A typical single-family home in Ventura has a bi-monthly water bill of $86.33. Under Stage 3 Water Shortage rates for 2015-2016, these same customers would see their bill rise to $108.53 (an increase of $22.20) IF THEY DO NOT REDUCE WATER USAGE. If they reduce by 20 percent, their rates remain the same – $86.33 bi-monthly. Lifeline usage is minimally impacted.

The rates are increasing to achieve full revenue recovery within each tier or customer class, and by doing so, further encouraging conservation. The new rates account for the city fully recovering drought-related costs from lower water sales due to conservation and drought expenses, estimated at about $1.1 million for a Stage 3 Water Emergency. Expenses include the new rebate incentive program, water waste enforcement, customer outreach and customer surveys.

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, May 2015

Keeping You Informed

Ventura declared a Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency on Sept. 22, 2014, requiring a mandatory 20 percent cutback in water use from all SaveourWaterresidents. (Read about the Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency and Ventura’s water-use prohibitions here: http://www.cityofventura.net/water/waste and here: http://www.cityofventura.net/water/rates)

At an April 29 Town Hall meeting, Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein shared the many ways Ventura Water and the City of Ventura have sought to educate and inform customers about the drought, the City’s response, and the need to conserve water, as well as enforcement efforts. (Figures are as of late April 2015.)

  • 500 notification letters have been sent to Ventura Water customers reported for wasting water. (Report water waste by emailing myvtawater@cityofventura.net or call (805) 667-6500 with the address and information about the problem.)
  • Ventura Water has issued 42 warning notices to alleged violators.
  • Ventura Water has issued $25 fines to seven customers in violation.
  • Ventura Water has conducted 136 single-family home water surveys to help residents learn ways to conserve.
  • 300 large water users have all been contacted in an effort to educate them about reducing use.
  • Ventura Water has contacted all schools in the Ventura Unified School District and Ventura College to ask them to conserve.
  • Ventura Water last fall created an all-volunteer Water Shortage Task Force (http://www.cityofventura.net/water/taskforce), which held monthly public meetings and evaluated a range of water issues, culminating with recommendations for action to the Ventura City Council.

How has Ventura Water shared its news and information with customers and the pubic?

  • Informational notices inserted in your water bill.
  • The Ventura Water monthly e-newsletter Pipeline, delivered by email to about 5,400 recipients. (Subscribe to the Pipeline here! http://www.cityofventura.net/water/pipeline)
  • Articles or ads in local print media such as the My Ventura magazine, the Ventura Breeze, the VC Reporter and the Ventura County Star newspaper, and seeking media coverage.
  • Social Media: Twitter, Facebook and the Ventura Water blog. Ventura Water has over 1,000 social media followers. Sign up to follow our blog today!
  • Ventura Water’s YouTube channel.
  • Ventura Water co-sponsors free water-wise classes held throughout the year on timely topics like composting and rainwater harvesting.
  • Ventura Water posts extensive information and updates about the drought and what it’s doing on the Ventura Water website, venturawater.net.
  • Ventura Water hosts Town Hall meetings for the public such as the two-hour Town Hall held in Ventura on April 29 and attended by about 80 citizens.

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.

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New Water Shortage Rates

Protecting Venturas Water Future1The Ventura City Council is considering implementing new Water Shortage Rates. Ventura is currently in Stage 3, mandating a 20 percent water-use reduction.

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. Public comments are welcome. Or: Tune in to CAPS-TV Channel 15 on June 8 to watch the meeting or see it live at www.cityofventura.net/video.

  • The new proposed rates with an additional fourth water-use tier prioritizes conservation and full water revenue loss recovery/revenue neutrality. (Read the Water Shortage Rate Study and the 2014 Cost of Service Study here: cityofventura.net/water/rates.)
  • Customers are not being given a water allocation. We expect customers to do their part and conserve the designated amount.
  • A typical single-family home in Ventura has a bi-monthly water bill of $86.33. Under Stage 3 Water Shortage rates for 2015-2016, these same customers would see their bill rise to $108.53 (an increase of $22.20) IF THEY DO NOT REDUCE WATER USAGE. If they reduce by 20 percent, their rates remain the same – $86.33 bi-monthly.
  • Lifeline usage is minimally impacted.
  • To ensure full revenue loss recovery and economic stability, the rates are increased at each stage of mandatory conservation if the drought worsens.
  • Customers who use the most water and are in the highest new tier (tier 4, about 1,000 customers) would pay even more. If they don’t conserve, “They are going to be paying a hefty amount,” said Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein.
  • The rates are increasing to achieve full revenue recovery within each tier or customer class, and by doing so, further encouraging conservation. The new rates account for the city fully recovering drought-related costs from lower water sales due to conservation and drought expenses, estimated at about $1.1 million for a Stage 3 Water Emergency. Expenses include the rebate incentive program, water waste enforcement, customer outreach and customer surveys. If Ventura Water does not get full recovery, rates will have to be increased further to ensure full revenue recovery and economic stability.

 

 

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

Attend an Important Ventura Water Town Hall Meeting on Weds. April 29, 2015

TownHallMeeting

Changes may be coming for our customers on many water-related fronts in light of the Ventura City Council’s support for adjusting water-use tiers and rates, as well as offering a new water-saving incentive program and revising the city’s Water Shortage Event Contingency Plan – all to cope with the drought.

A Town Hall informational meeting for the public will be held at the city’s Sanjon Maintenance Yard, 336 Sanjon Road, on Wednesday, April 29 at 6 p.m. A City Council public hearing will follow on June 8.

Please attend the Town Hall meeting to learn more and have your questions answered! Also please read the Pipeline e-newsletter each month to keep-up-to-date on the drought and Ventura Water’s response. You will find all your Ventura Water news here in the month Pipeline e-newsletter.

Before any changes are implemented, Ventura Water will bring a proposed new rate plan ordinance back to the City Council in June. Customers would be notified of the new rates in July and the new rates would become effective September 1, 2015.

The City Council last month acted on the recommendations of the Water Shortage Task Force,  which recommended the changes after a series of public meetings to manage the ongoing drought.

The Council is considering implementing a new, four-tiered water rate structure that would send a strong message for conservation of Ventura’s local resources. Under the plan, the highest residential users would pay more for their water – but not as much if they reduce use by 20 percent. The lowest users would have minimal impact. Commercial customers are expected to conserve by 10 percent during the current Stage 3 Water Shortage.

The City Council is also considering a new incentive program for customers who reduce outside water use. This program could be underway by summer or fall 2015. Since most 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. Tentatively, a rebate of $2 per square foot or up to $800 would be offered for properties less than one acre; the possible rebate is up to $1,600 for properties over an acre. Rebates of $300 would be offered for other measures like buying mulch and installing efficiency devices.

Finally, a proposed new Water Shortage Event Contingency Plan defines the six levels of a water shortage event. Ventura is currently in Stage 3, requiring a 20 percent water use reduction for residential properties. If dry conditions worsen, the city could advance to Stage 4, which would trigger a mandatory 30 percent water-use reduction.

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From 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

Task Force Recommends Changes to Water Use Tiers and Rates

Highest Users and Those Who Don’t Conserve Would Pay MoreWaterRates

The Water Shortage Task Force is recommending that the city of Ventura create a new, four-tiered water rate structure that will send a strong message for conservation during Water Shortage events like the current drought.

Under the proposed plan the City Council is expected to consider in February, low to average residential water customers who conserve by 20 percent would not see an increase in their water bill. The highest residential users would pay more for their water – but won’t pay that much more if they reduce use by 20 percent, even at the highest tier. The very lowest users who have already cut back would see no increase and would see slight reduction in their bill if they cut back even more.

Commercial customers would be expected to conserve by 10 percent during the Stage 3 Water Shortage, so business activity is not harmed, a common practice in the water industry. And, if the city’s water suppliers increase their costs or the city incurs penalties from customers not conserving enough, those costs would be passed on to all customers (except the lowest-tier residential customers), according to the proposal.

The new tiers and rates would take effect in July 2015 if approved after public hearings targeted for May and June, said Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein.

The 13-member Water Shortage Task Force has been studying and considering proposed changes to Ventura Water’s water tiers and rate structure during their final two meetings in December and January. Task Force members discussed several reports prepared by Raftelis Financial Consultants that examined different models for rates and tiers.

The new proposed rate structure would include four tiers. The average residential user’s bill would remain the same IF they cut back by 20 percent; if they don’t, their bi-monthly bills would rise, perhaps by about $22, according to draft figures calculated by Raftelis. The highest water users who fail to conserve would pay even more.

Raftelis’ figures account for the city fully recovering drought-related costs from lower water sales due to conservation and Stage 3 drought expenses, estimated at $1,134,000. Expenses include the proposed conservation incentive program, water waste enforcement, customer outreach and customer surveys.

“We are trying to send a stronger message for conservation by hitting the biggest users,” Sudhir D. Pardwala, Raftelis’ executive vice president, told the Task Force.

Ventura Water Officials said 56 percent of water use is currently in the lowest tier and only 19 percent of water use is currently in the highest tier.

Water Shortage Task Force Member Rob Corley said the proposed new tiers are fair and incentivize people to do the right thing and conserve. “It’s a very balanced and fair system,” he said at the December meeting.

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From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, January 2015