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On March 29, 2022, in response to the third consecutive year of drought conditions throughout the State, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-7-22 directing the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to consider adopting an emergency regulation for urban water conservation. With direction from the Governor, the State Water Resources Control Board unanimously adopted emergency drought regulations on May 24, 2022, requiring urban water suppliers to implement demand reduction actions identified under Stage 2 of the supplier’s Water Shortage Contingency Plans. Additionally, the SWRCB has implemented a ban on the irrigation of non-functional turf at commercial, industrial, and institutional (CII) sites, effective June 16, 2022.
For more information, please refer to the State Water Board’s water conservation emergency regulations webpage: bit.ly/conservationreg.
Each year, Ventura Water assesses the City’s water supply sources – Lake Casitas, Ventura River, and local groundwater basins – in the Comprehensive Water Resources Report (CWRR). The report evaluates the City’s water supply and demand, while considering future needs, challenges and uncertainties relating to Ventura’s water supply reliability. The results of the CWRR are used in partnership with the Water Shortage Event Contingency Plan (WSECP) to determine whether the City is in a water shortage event.
The 2022 CWRR was discussed and reviewed by the City’s Water Commission in March and April 2022 and by the City Council in May 2022. The results of the 2022 CWRR indicate that the City of Ventura’s projected water supply is 17,224 acre-feet (AF) and projected water demand is 14,970 AF, indicating that the City of Ventura is currently not experiencing a water shortage event.
While the results of the 2022 CWRR indicate a local water shortage event is not triggered, on May, 31, 2022, the City Council authorized the expansion of a public information campaign for water conservation and the implementation of Stage 2 Water Shortage Event demand reduction measures to comply with the State Drought Related Emergency Regulation for Water Conservation as adopted by the SWCRB. In response, the City is encouraging residents to take indoor and outdoor conservation measures to voluntarily reduce water use by up to 20 percent. At this time, the City is not implementing Water Shortage Rates, however stricter measures including Water Shortage Rates could be implemented if demand reductions are not achieved.
Currently, the City does not have restrictions on outdoor watering for single family residential customers.
The City will be enforcing the irrigation ban on non-functional turf at commercial, industrial, and Institutional (CII) properties and common areas maintained by homeowners associations.
The State has defined non-functional turf as, “a ground cover surface of mowed grass that is ornamental and not otherwise used for human recreational purposes. Non-functional turf does not include school fields, sports fields, and areas regularly used for civic or community events." Failure to comply may result in a fine of up to $500 from the SWRCB.
Additionally, the following water waste prohibitions remain in place:
On May, 31, 2022, the City Council authorized the expansion of a public information campaign for water conservation and the implementation of Stage 2 Water Shortage Event demand reduction measures. Based on the directions from the City Council, the City will continue to enforce water waste prohibitions, offer water efficiency programs/ incentives, and pursue multi-benefit water supply projects, such as the State Water Interconnection Project and the VenturaWaterPure Program.
Additionally, the City’s Parks department has established watering priorities and has stopped irrigating non-functional turf areas, including the turf areas at City Hall.
Ventura Water will continue to assess short and long-term water supply and demands through various planning efforts including the Annual CWRR and the Urban Water Management Plan to ensure a balanced and stable water future. Staff will also continue to closely monitor any updates or changes to the emergency order by the State Water Resources Control Board.
State law specifically does not allow a city to waive its responsibility to plan for housing growth because of water supply challenges. However, the City has policies in place to ensure new developments is investing in our water and wastewater systems and contributing to future water supply projects.
In 2016, the City adopted a water neutral development policy known as the Water Rights Dedication and Water Resource Net Zero Policy. The Net Zero Policy Ordinance requires new development to offset new or increased water demand through one or more compliance options, including dedication of water rights, extraordinary conservation measures, and/or payment of a fee. The fee proceeds go towards paying for future water supply projects, so that existing rate payers do not absorb the entire cost of necessary future water supplies.
In addition, new developments are required to incorporate water efficiency into building design such as installation of high efficiency plumbing fixtures and water efficient landscaping and irrigation systems.
For development questions or additional information, contact Community Development at [email protected] or call (805) 654-7869.
Customers can proactively monitor their water consumption through the Web Connect portal. With Web Connect, customers have instant access to hourly water use data, leak alerts, water bills, payment options, and more. You can learn more about Web Connect’s features here.