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Fourth Year of Drought:
What you can do?

Many of Ventura Water customers are already conserving and the City thanks you for your continued efforts.  This water shortage has been a multi-year drought, which is not unprecedented. California’s drought in the 1990s lasted seven years.

Since conservation has been encouraged to be a way of life, the new Water Shortage Rates adopted by the City Council on June 8, 2015, do not establish an allocation, but rather build upon the existing tiered structure to encourage further conservation. Customers will see a comparison on their Ventura Water utility bill in July or August. This bill will show a side-by-side comparison of what a customer used and owes with the existing three-tier structure on the right side of the bill. On the left side of the bill, the customer will see what the same usage will be charged under the new four-tier Water Shortage Rates that take effect Sept. 1. 

Customers can prevent having their bills go up by conserving. Ventura Water hopes that this notification will give customers time to make decisions about how much water they would like to use for the rest of the summer and fall months.

Customers will also notice on their July/August bill, the first tier has been split into two so that the new tier one, which is 0 to 6 units (one unit equals 748 gallons) is not expected to conserve at all. The customer committee who recommended this first Tier was concerned about small users who were already conserving. At the same time, the committee recognized everyone needs to conserve something in order maximize the City’s diminishing supplies. Tier 2, which is 7 to 14 units for a single family residential customer, is expected to save but not as much as Tier 3 and Tier 4, which are primarily used for outdoor irrigation. 

Since September of 2014, the City has asked all customers to only irrigate two days a week and not between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. A single-family residence home uses up to 60 percent of their water outdoors. So to reach 20 percent water savings, a household can do so without going to extreme indoor restrictions. The City has collectively saved over 20 percent the months when we have had rainy and cool weather. Those are the months that people instinctively turn off their sprinklers and do not hose water. 

Why change the rate structure at all during a water shortage? First, the city seeks to insure that the community conserves so we have enough water while supplies continue to diminish during this drought. Second, important infrastructure improvements and the replacement of very old pipes and facilities would be delayed when revenues fall with decreased water sales. Seventy-five percent of Water Operations have fixed costs regardless of whether one drop or millions of gallons of water are delivered.  Ventura Water’s salary and benefits total only a quarter of the overall budget. Most expenses come from infrastructure improvements that keep the water system up and running. In contrast, 75 percent of revenues come from water usage to encourage customers to use water efficiently. So, these new rates keep the water utility revenue neutral and fiscally sound during a shortage. This helps Ventura Water maintain progress for the future and allows us to bring an incentive program that will roll out this summer.

For more conservation tips or to request a free water survey visit us at www.venturawater.net or call 805-667-6500. 

New Water and Wastewater Commission Selected


Water CommisionA new, seven-member Water Commission with two alternate members has been formed as part of Ventura Water’s ongoing public outreach and education effort, and to help with long-term planning. The Water Commission will review and make advisory recommendations regarding water rates; water resources infrastructure projects in the five-year capital improvement program; the integrated water resources management plan; water supply options; the Urban Water Management Plan approval process; a water dedication and in-lieu fee requirement; and other issues.
 
All of the commissioners and alternates are Ventura residents. Five are professional members with terms expiring in June 2017: Bryan Bondy, Grant Burton (alternate), Christopher Cooper, Gerhardt Hubner and Don Mills. Four are “special interest” commissioners whose terms expire June 30, 2019: Ted Cook, Parker Mann (alternate), Scott McCarty and Suzanne McCombs.
 
The commission had its first meeting on June 23. Commissioners were sworn in and toured the Ventura Avenue Treatment Facility.
 
The Water Commission is scheduled to meet monthly on the fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Community Meeting Room #202, 501 Poli St. in Ventura. Interested community members are encouraged to attend these public meetings to become informed and participate. Meeting agendas will be posted in advance on our website, www.venturawater.net.

Cooler May Temperatures Led to Lower Water Use in May  


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.

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Dear Valued Customer,

It is summer and we are in a drought. I know this is not a news flash for many of you. Just in case it is for some, and you want a fun way to talk about the drought instead of all the doom and gloom pictures of lakes and rivers drying up, Ventura Water has a campaign for you to join: “Hey Ventura, What’s your shower song.”

We are asking everyone to share their shower song on the Ventura Water Facebook page and start asking friends and neighbors what is their shower song. Most songs are less than five minutes and one way to save water is to take shorter showers. Three out of five people sing in the shower. I’m not one of them, but if you are not a singer you can always listen to your shower song to keep you in time. Playing my shower song makes me more aware of shortening up my shower.

Two local radio stations are helping us promote this campaign and you can promote it as well. One way we are promoting shorter showers in the workplace is at three o’clock every day, we play a co-worker’s shower song in the office to celebrate Ventura conserving water. This energy in the office gets everyone talking about water conservation and what they can do. The more people who check in to Ventura Water’s Facebook page, the more people who will get weekly, if not daily, conservation tips.

Thank you, Ventura, for being an active partner during this drought. To hear the radio ad for What's Your Shower Song, click here.

Sincerely,





Shana Epstein,
Vent
ura Water General Manager

Check The 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 set to launch soon! The contract to administer the program is on the agenda of the Ventura City Council’s June 29 meeting.
 
The 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.
 
Get all the details here.

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

 












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