Sustainable You! Camp 2017: Teaching Our Youth About Eco-Conscious Living

Sustainable Ventura News takes a trip to Sustainable You! Camp. The camp, held each summer at University of California Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center’s (HAREC) 4-H Sustainable You Camp teaches children ages 9-12 about what it means to be sustainable through fun activities based around the five major themes: Land, Water, Food, Air, and Energy.

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.

Ventura Water Holds Meeting on the Santa Clara River Estuary

Ventura Water hosted a stakeholders meeting and workshop on Nov. 3 for community members interested in learning more about how the City plans to provide a sustainable water future for Ventura residents, while addressing the complex interests surrounding the Santa Clara SantaClaraRiverEstuaryRiver Estuary.

In December of 2011, the Ventura City Council voted on a final settlement agreement and consent decree with Heal the Bay and Wishtoyo Foundation/Ventura Coastkeeper to resolve legal actions associated with the City’s Reclamation Facility discharges of tertiary treated water into the Santa Clara River Estuary. In this agreement, the City agreed to further investigate and determine how best to use this water resource for the future while preserving the Santa Clara River Estuary’s natural habitat.

Per the consent decree, by the end of this year, the City must propose a project or projects that would address reusing 100 percent of the discharge from the existing Reclamation Facility to the estuary. However, the final discharge amount has not been determined yet, but will take into account water quality and habitat preservation.

The stakeholder meeting began at 9:30 a.m. with a tour of the City’s new VenturaWaterPure “potable reuse” demonstration facility and then convened at City Hall for a workgroup. Regulators, members of environmental groups, recreation users, ratepayers and potential water reuse customers attended to learn about the activities conducted this year regarding the Santa Clara River Estuary. Following the welcome and introductions, Carollo Engineers gave a comprehensive progress update on estuary monitoring activities conducted to date, 100 percent diversion as defined by the Consent Decree, the estimated range of costs for 100 percent diversion, and brine disposal options and costs. (Brine refers to the waste by-products of potable reuse and desalination that requires proper treatment and/or disposal.)

Looking ahead, more data will be collected and compiled for the estuary and the potable reuse pilot study. The next stakeholder workshop will be held mid-year in 2016.

To review the PowerPoint presentation given at the Nov. 3 meeting, click here.

Learn more about the estuary settlement here.

From Ventura Water’s November 2015 Pipeline

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 or call (805) 667-6500 to schedule a water survey.

From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, September 2015

Congratulations to Our Customers! Year-to-Date Water Use Hits the 20% Reduction Target

Ventura Water congratulates all our customers; we are extremely grateful. New figures show that customer water use was down 39 percent last Protecting Venturas Water Future1month (July) compared to July 2013, allowing Ventura Water for the first time to reach our 20 percent annual water reduction goal for the year so far! The exact year-to-date reduction in water use by customers as of the end of July was 20.79 percent.

As the City and the State experience one of the most severe droughts on record, the customers of Ventura have proven that they have the ingenuity and commitment to meet the challenges of conserving water. We have all come a long way since September of 2014, when Ventura declared a Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency requiring customers to reduce water use by 20 percent. (See the details here.)

During the months of May, June and July this year, Ventura Water customers have reduced their water use significantly, establishing what we hope is a continuing trend. May 2015 saw a 28 percent water use decrease compared to May 2013, June saw a 41 percent decrease from June 2013, and July’s decrease was 39 percent compared to July 2013. (See a month-to-month comparison for 2013-2015 to date here.) It is important to note that we conserve the most during the warmer months! We need to continue our efforts through the fall and into the winter! We aren’t in the clear yet!

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.

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, August 2015

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.


From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, January 2015

FREE Water Surveys Offered to Residential Customers


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

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From Ventura Water’s Pipeline, October 2014 Issue

A red, white and BLUE tip for July 4th!



     Having a July 4th picnic or BBQ? Here’s a red, white and BLUE refreshing tip: Buy a large 5 (or 10) gallon Coleman beverage cooler and fill it with water and slices of fresh lemon and mint and/or homemade ice tea or lemonade! It’s economical and it saves our environment. Don’t forget to serve the beverages with reusable cups! Happy July 4th!