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Water: Take 1 Waves Rolling In

New entries are rolling in almost daily to the Water: Take 1 Online Short Film Contest as the September 3 deadline nears. Filmmakers from across the globe are encouraged to submit short films of less than five minutes in any genre (drama, documentary, comedy, animation, Sci-fi or experimental) that address the topic of water. Projects can be submitted immediately and uploaded at no cost at watertake1.com.
 
One of 10 finalists will be awarded the Grand Prize of $1,500 (sponsored by Patagonia), as selected by a distinguished jury of environmental and entertainment professionals. In addition, a film shot in and around the City of Ventura will receive the NEW Ventura Vision Award (sponsored by the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel) and will win a profile interview in an upcoming Sustainable Ventura TV show, which is broadcasted locally to over 20,000, as well as location and permitting assistance on their next home-grown film.

Other awards and prizes to be presented at the Awards Celebration hosted by Brooks Institute of Photography on November 14 are the Audience Choice Award (sponsored by E.J. Harrison & Sons) and an iPad2, and the Best Student Short Film Award (sponsored by Carollo Engineers and Kennedy/Jenks Consultants) and a Go Pro Camera.
 
Every film needs an audience. Visit watertake1.com to watch and vote for your favorite film (voting goes through October 1) because your vote will decide the Audience Choice winner. Generate some buzz by clicking a film’s orange “Share” button to encourage your family and friends to watch and vote, too. (Only one vote per computer.)  Thanks for catching the wave!


Sign Up Today for Free Water Wise Gardening Classes

Native PlantVentura Water has partnered with Green Thumb Nursery and Aqua-Flo Supply to bring our customers a series of free, practical, hands-on gardening classes to help you start small with big changes to your landscapes. Scheduled for Saturdays from 10-11:30 a.m. at various Ventura locations, the classes are designed to promote efficient water use and climate-appropriate plants, which will also help protect our local water quality and reduce green waste. Register online today for classes at cityofventura.net/water/landscape or call (805) 652-4501.  
 
September 14, 2013 ~ SoCal Bloomers ~ Green Thumb Nursery
Discover colorful, climate-appropriate plants to incorporate beautifully into your landscape.
 
October 12, 2013 ~ Ocean Friendly Gardens ~ City Sanjon Maintenance Yard
Learn how to employ Ocean Friendly Garden principles of Conservation, Permeability and Retention (CPR).
 
November 9, 2013 ~ Urban Gold ~ City Sanjon Maintenance Yard
Hosted by Aqua-Flo Supply, expand your knowledge about the water-holding capacity and biology of soil, including creating healthy compost, compost teas and natural humates that improve the vitality of soil.
 
March 2014 (date TBD) ~ Turf Alternatives ~ City Sanjon Maintenance Yard
Learn how to easily reduce overall turf area, cap and abandon those zones, and add permeable hardscape or replant areas with low-water use alternatives.
 
April 2014 (date TBD) ~ Edible Harvest ~ Green Thumb Nursery
Join the growing movement to incorporate edibles into your landscape and discover why it’s beneficial, what to plant and when, and the benefits of non-toxic pest control.
 
May 2014 (date TBD) ~ Water-Wise Gardening ~ City Sanjon Maintenance Yard
Hosted by Aqua-Flo Supply, irrigate your landscape efficiently with the use of drip spray nozzles and pick a smart controller that is right for you.



ventura.watersavingplants.com

Check Out
The UC Guild to Healthy Lawns: Zone 9 Southern California Coast
ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/TURF/MAINTAIN/cazone9.html


Your Rates at WorkNew Water Pipes Coming To Pierpont

Ventura Water will be accepting competitive bids in August for a $1.7 million project to replace and improve drinking water pipelines and related components along Harbor Blvd this Fall.  The project includes replacement of almost 1.5 miles of deteriorated and undersized waterlines with new polyvinyl chloride (PVC) 12-inch and 16-inch diameter pipes. New fire hydrants, valves and water service connections to residences and businesses will also be installed. In addition, a new section of pipe along Harbor Blvd will construct an alternative to deliver water to Ventura Harbor and Pierpont, in case there is a main break on the existing pipe that normally supplies water to the area. The pipes will be installed on Sanjon Road from Thompson Blvd to Harbor Blvd, along Harbor Blvd from Sanjon Road to Monmouth Way, and along San Pedro Street from Harbor Blvd to Pierpont Drive.
 
Once construction begins, visit cityofventura.net/pw/construction for more information.   Local renewal projects like this one are funded through water rates and represent an important investment in the health and economic vitality of our community.


Dear Customer,

Many of you have seen the headlines this week about the City being granted over $1 million in overcharges from the United Water Conservation District. Customers are now asking what this means, and whether they will see lower rates or receive a refund.
 
The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. First, the fiscal year 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 budgets – upon which our current rates are based - did not include the full amount of the extraction fees ultimately charged by United and paid by Ventura Water under protest. The additional monies were paid from our reserves, which will need to be reimbursed, if the funds are returned.
 
More importantly, on Friday, July 26, the United Water Conservation District will decide whether to appeal the decision. If they choose to appeal and if the funds are transferred to the City, then I would recommend to the City Council that the funds be set aside until the appeals process is complete. When all the legal actions come to an end, it is expected that Ventura Water staff will work with the Rate Advisory Committee to decide how best to apply those funds.
  
Now that the big question has been answered, I would like to share with you the press release that was distributed earlier this week:
 
“Judge Thomas Anderle of the Santa Barbara Superior Court confirmed today that the United Water Conservation District has been unconstitutionally overcharging the City of Ventura for water pumping extraction charges. The Court further ordered United to refund to the City the principal amount of $962,866 plus a 7 percent prejudgment interest rate. Also, the City is not required to pay United extraction charges for the period January to June 2013 at rates that exceed an average for all customers.
 
‘As water stewards, Ventura Water and our 113,000 customers are committed to supporting and managing our regional water resources,’ said Mayor Mike Tracy.  ‘Today’s ruling demonstrates that equitable cost sharing for water is a reasonable expectation and that pumping charges should be consistent with the benefits received.’
 
In April, the court ruled that the United Water Conservation District had been unconstitutionally charging municipal and industrial customers, which includes Ventura, three times as much as other groundwater pumpers. It was determined that the rates charged to this customer group did not have factual cost support, which was in conflict with Proposition 218 approved by voters in 1996. 
 
Today’s decision is the latest action resulting from two lawsuits filed by the City of Ventura, on behalf of their customers, to protest unfair water extraction charges. Based on a 1960s California law, the United Water Conservation District has historically charged municipal and industrial customers three times more than agricultural customers.”
 
As I have stated in the past, lawsuits cost money and we hope that this money is being well spent to settle this issue. We wholeheartedly support United’s mission to manage, recharge and prevent seawater intrusion into the groundwater basins that this County relies on for public and economic health. We ask that equity and fairness be the guiding principles in sharing the financial burden of caring for these important water resources.






Shana Epstein,
Vent
ura Water General Manager

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