Community Potluck with Practical Ways to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Landscape Water

Ojai Valley Green Coalition sponsors 
Potluck with Practical Ways to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Landscape Water andContinuing the ‘Facing Drought Together’ Conversation
Kathy Nolan
Presenter Kathy Nolan plants
natives. “The soil is our best
water tank”, says Kathy.


Friday, May 30thChaparral Auditorium
414 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai
6:30 pm: Meet & greet
7:00 pm:  Potluck*
7:30 pm: Local experts share about:
1.  Water saving landscapes
2.  Introduction to graywater systems and rainwater  resources
3.  Climate appropriate trees and plants for the Ojai Valley                   
Food:  Please bring a salad, main course or dessert to share – ideally using local, organic ingredients
(In order to reduce landfill waste – bring your own plate, silverware, mug and cloth napkin)
$5 suggested donation
For more information (805) 669-8445 or

Letter From Ventura Water’s GM


Dear Valued Customer,

In greeting the arrival of 2014, we are facing a year that may be the driest in recorded history. Our local water sources primarily rely on the rainy season for replenishment. The Ventura River has not seen a normal winter for three years now, which means it has diminished as a reliable supply and Ventura is now dependent upon Lake Casitas and groundwater. Without the City’s full water supply portfolio, it is time to ask all customers to pitch in and use at least 10 percent less water.

For some customers that will be as easy as dropping one day of outdoor watering. For others, it may be more difficult if they have been efficient consumers all along. Bottom line, we’ll need everyone’s help to save water now to keep Lake Casitas levels from going lower, faster.

An average Ventura residential household uses approximately 21 hundred cubic feet (hcf) or 15,708 gallons every two months. A 10 percent reduction equals 1,570 gallons bi-monthly or 785 gallons per month. Many customers are already pledging their support and sharing how they will save water. Some of those tips will be offered in the coming months but here are the top suggestions to get started:

  • Check for leaks indoors and outdoors. One leaking toilet can waste between 300 to 60,000 gallons per month and even a slow drip from a faucet can use 450 gallons per month. There are many variables to how much water can be wasted due to leaks in irrigation systems, but it is possible to lose 225 gallons in a 15 minute watering cycle from a leak close to a sprinkler head.
  • Review your water consumption history and use the Home Water Works Water Calculator to analyze your water use and receive practical information to help reduce use.
  • Visit for more ways to save water.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to remember to Save Our Water. Thank you for being our partner.



Shana Epstein, Ventura Water General Manager

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

What YOU Should Know About Private Sewer Lateral Inspections


In January 2012, the City adopted new regulations to support the timely inspection, repair and replacement of private sewer laterals. A private sewer lateral is the pipe that connects a business or home’s plumbing system to the City’s wastewater collection main pipeline. The lateral is considered the “private” segment when it is located on private property and serves the purposes of an individual, privately owned building. The property owner is responsible for the entire pipe length, including the wye or saddle at the point of connection to the City’s mainline.

Ventura Water is responsible for the maintenance of the main pipelines that carry used water from homes and businesses. To protect public health and safety, these pipes are regularly inspected and repaired to maintain their integrity. A good maintenance practice is to have your private sewer lateral inspected every 3-5 years to catch problems early, which will prevent expensive repairs down the road. With thousands of private sewer laterals in the City, property owners are important partners in assuring that pipes are properly maintained to protect us all.

Effective February 3, 2014, three events will require property owners within the City to hire a licensed plumber to conduct a video inspection (closed circuit TV) of their private sewer lateral, at the property owner’s expense.

  1. If a sewage spill occurs on private property. An inspection will identify the causes of the spill and make sure the property owner takes corrective actions to prevent further problems.
  2. Upon receipt of a notification letter from Ventura Water indicating that problems, such as root intrusion or grease/rag buildup, have been identified. The letter will request an inspection by a licensed plumber to take corrective actions. It is in the property owner’s best interest to respond to prevent a damaging and costly overflow or backup.
  3. Prior to the close of a sale for any property. Property owners that are considering selling are strongly recommended to hire a licensed plumber to inspect the private sewer lateral early in the process. A property owner may choose the timing to submit the Private Sewer Lateral Inspection Report to the City, as long as the report is submitted before the close of escrow and the results of the inspection are disclosed to the buyer and all parties to the sale.  If the inspection reveals that corrective work is needed, the seller and buyer can agree on who will pay the cost and who will be responsible for making the repairs. Visit for all the details about how a property owner can meet this requirement.

In addition, commercial and common interest properties (apartments and condominums) are required to submit a Private Sewer Lateral Inspection Report to the City every 10 years, with the first report due before January 1, 2023. These properties will be required to inspect the length of pipeline from the last private connection to the City’s mainline and include the results in the report. (Sales of single units in common interest developments do not trigger change of ownership inspection requirements.)

Visit: and

From Ventura Water Pipeline, Vo. 4, No. 1, February 2014

Ventura Water Calls for 10 Percent Voluntary Water Use Reductions

QQnObuvIt3877mI6pBEFy1yopwDapNx3rYZB9KfrAQfBw4sZxQySc78MzKpEKqXV9Mcj22seqZ2wpKDAaHZmonMbZEqPRwrhDvuYztF2TrEj2lg9AJsKjaF-BaDGM61Vrls=s0-d-e1-ftVentura Water’s call for a voluntary water use reduction of 10% from our customers was supported unanimously last night by the City Council with a 6-0 vote.

“Ventura River water levels are very low and Lake Casitas, another of our primary water sources, is at 60 percent capacity,” said Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann in last week’s press release. “It is a sensible step to reduce water use now by raising awareness of the need to conserve water. Our community met this challenge during the 1990s drought and we expect Ventura to once again be an outstanding partner in preserving our water supplies.”

The City’s third water supply is groundwater. A number of wells are currently undergoing urgent maintenance, which is limiting management options. One replacement well is in construction but is not expected to be operational until the summer.

We will be watching our water supplies over the coming months and are planning to bring an action plan to the City Council this summer if further restrictions are necessary. Officials from the Casitas Municipal Water District have alerted the City that if the water level in Lake Casitas drops to 50 percent, then the water district will issue water allocations. Without rain, this may occur as soon as August or September.

“In an allocation situation, we expect that the City Council would declare a water shortage emergency and enact more stringent conservation measures,” said Epstein. “Of course, anything that our customers can do to reduce their water use now will help Ventura’s supplies in the long run.”

Visit to learn more. Watch the recent LA Ch.7 ABC news video and LA Ch.4 NBC news video about Ventura’s water use reduction request.


From Ventura Water Pipeline, Vol. 4, No 1, February 2014

December 2013 Landscape Watering Guide



Your Watering Guide for December 2013!




For great ideas on what native plants work best in Ventura, visit:

Also check out the University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources Guide to Health Lawns:  Zone 9 Southern California Coast




Water Saving Ideas for the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday

thanksgiv-dayThis year the Thanksgiving holiday falls on November 28.  During the season, we celebrate and give thanks for our family, friends, community, and the wonderful harvest bounty.

While we’re enjoying the season, and all it’s wonderful entertaining, please remember these water saving tips:

•Don’t let the water flow when washing the dishes.  If you have a two sided sink, fill one side with soapy water (or if you don’t have a two sided sink use a plastic wash basin) to rinse and/or wash dishes.  This will significantly reduce the amount of water you use.

•According to Energy Star, dishwashers that date to 1994 and earlier can use as much as 10 gallons of water per cycle.

•Always make sure you run your dishwashers ONLY when FULL.

•When you drink tap — don’t let the water run cold.  Fill a pitcher with water and then place in the refrigerator to cool.

•Don’t run hot water over frozen foods in the sink to defrost them.  Either use a microwave and/or defrost them in the refrigerator overnight.

•Put all your food scraps into a compost pile vs. putting them down the garbage disposal.

•When doing laundry, wash your clothes in COLD WATER using a cold-water detergent whenever you can. (Switching your temperature from hot to cold can cut a load’s energy use in half).

•ONLY do laundry when you have a FULL load.

Find other water saving tips at:

The Worldwide “Thirst” For Clean Drinking Water


“The last 100 years has been the golden age of water in the developed world:  water that has been safe, unlimited and essentially FREE,” Charles Fishman, author of The Big Thirst tells NPR/Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “But that era is over,” Fishman continues.  “We will not, going forward, have water that has all three of those qualities at the same time:  unlimited, unthinkingly inexpensive and safe.”   LISTEN TO THE NPR INTERVIEW:


Did you know what you EAT impacts Water Conservation?


Did you know that what you EAT can impact WATER SAVINGS?  Here are some statistics from National Geographic.

•It takes approximately 1,000 gallons of water per day to produce the average American diet.  This is more than the global average water footprint of 900 gallons per person per day for diet, household use, transportation, energy and consumption of material goods.

•Eat less meat and dairy is a way slim down your water footprint.  It takes a lot of water and energy to process these products.  Choose grass-fed beef (vs. grain-fed) whenever possible because grass-fed  utilizes less water and energy.

•A serving of poultry costs approximately 90 gallons of water to produce.  When you BUY LOCAL, you save on transportation and other costs (financially and environmentally).

•On average, a vegan, a person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day LESS than a person following the average American diet.

•A cup of coffee takes 55 gallons of water to make, with most of that water used to grow the coffee beans.


Visit: and

Water Saving Tips at the Office


Great Water Saving Ideas for Commercial Business

In the Restroom

•The restroom is the biggest source of water waste commercially.  While automatic-flushing toilets are great, manual flushing toilets actually use less water.  Why?  Because they don’t have triggers that account for unnecessary flushing.  Every accidental flush wastes 1.6 gallons of water.

•Choose sinks with handles that can  be turned on and off manually, or sinks with automatic sensors that click off as soon as hands are removed from the sensor area.  Never use sinks with the push-button faucet that slowly turns itself off.

•If you already have automatic toilets and sinks installed, call your service technician and ask for sensor adjustments and make sure the sensors do not go off too frequently; activating only when you want them too.

Water Heaters

•Hot water takes energy, install a water feed pump.  The faster your water heats, the less water is wasted waiting for the water to get to the heated temperature that is preferred. (Aim for a maximum temperature around 120 degress F).

Office Kitchen

•Install an energy-efficient dishwasher in the office kitchen.   Using a high quality dishwasher (vs. doing dishes by hand), actually saves water.   Remember to only run the dishwasher when fully loaded.



Shower WISE with the WaterSense label


A nice, long hot shower is the way many Americans wake up in the morning and wind down in the evening.  However, taking a long, hot shower is also where water, money and energy are sent right down the drain.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in order to call attention to being waterwise, is sponsoring its second annual SHOWER BETTER campaign in October 2013 to promote WaterSense labeled showerheads as a way for consumers to enjoy a satisfying shower while saving water, energy and money.



•That showering accounts for nearly 17% or residential indoor water use, or about 30 gallson per household per day.

•Showerheads that have earned the WaterSense label are independently certified to use 20% less water and meet the EPA’s performance criteria for spray force and water coverage, which means you really will shower better.

•Installing a WaterSense labeled showerhead can save the average family the amount of water it takes to wash more than 70 loads of laundry each year.

•The simple act of installing a WaterSense labeled model can reduce the average family’s annual water use by 2,900 gallons of water, saving more than $70 per year in energy and water costs, and conserve the amount of energy needed to power a home for 13 days every year!

To learn more about WaterSense labeled showerheads and to VIEW a list of models, CLICK HERE.


Also visit: and