Over the past 5 years the City of Ventura along with the rest of California has grappled with significant water challenges from aging infrastructure, water quality, and ultimately water scarcity much of which has been driven by persistent drought conditions. While most of California has been relieved of “drought status” after a record breaking year in precipitation levels, Ventura will remain in a stage 3 water shortage event which in simple terms means the call for conservation must continue.
Understanding our local water supply provides clarity to the question of why are we still in a drought when other areas of the state aren’t? Ventura is one of the largest cities in California that relies exclusively on local water supplies. The City of Ventura gets it water from three primary sources: the Ventura River, Lake Casitas, and groundwater basins. Ventura’s water portfolio of these three distinct sources is based on the flow of the Ventura River Supply. When more river water is available, less groundwater is used. During dryer conditions, groundwater or Lake Casitas supplies a greater percentage of Ventura’s drinking water (based on service area).
The Ventura River watershed is currently 100% dependent on local water resources. Sources of water supply include surface water and groundwater, with groundwater comprising almost half of the total water produced. From this watershed Ventura’s water supply is provided by Lake Casitas, the Nye wells along the Ventura River as well as the Foster Park intake that directs water to the Avenue Treatment Plant for treatment and purification. Due to environmental challenges including regular cycles of drought, current extended drought conditions, and regulatory challenges the Ventura River has been facing an imbalance in water supply and demand.
In 1958, the Casitas Dam was completed to create Lake Casitas, the primary surface water supply in the watershed. Lake Casitas stores runoff collected from the lake’s surrounding watershed and diverts water from the Ventura River at the Robles Diversion. According to the Ventura River Management Plan, Lake Casitas serves as a backup for many groundwater users including other water districts. The plan sites the last time Lake Casitas was near full capacity was in 2006. As of May 2017 Lake Casitas was at 43.3% of its full capacity.
Ventura’s water is also pumped from deep groundwater wells located in the east side near Victoria Avenue and in Saticoy. Water allocations from the Oxnard Plain, Mound, and Santa Paula groundwater basins which are shared regionally are increasingly regulated and monitored. Ultimately, the quantity of available water remains limited from local groundwater sources.
As summer approaches, please remember to make water efficient practices a Ventura way of life! Outdoor watering remains limited to 2 days per week only between the hours of 6pm and 9am! For more ways to save water, please visit venturawater.net to participate in our programs that equip customers to be water wise!
Visit our Ventura Water Outreach Booth at Summer Fest on Saturday June 3rd and share with us how you save water as we launch our 2017 Summer Campaign, 95 days of Summer, 95 ways to save….and enter to win prizes! For more info visit Ventura Water’s facebook page or tune in to KHAY/100.7 and KBBY/95.1!