Ventura Water  I  Pipeline  I  Vol. 2, No. 10, July 2012
Pipeline July 2012

Football players showering on lawn
Did you know that some sprinkler nozzles can emit just as many gallons per minute as a showerhead? Running your sprinklers too long is like having an entire football team taking a shower on your lawn!

Use WaterSense This Summer

for a Beautiful Yard

WaterSenseEvery summer, outdoor water use rises with the warmer temperatures. This summer, Ventura Water is partnering with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense
program to provide customers with more water-efficiency tools and resources. Water Conservation Specialist Jill Sarick offers watering tips and advice from WaterSense that will help ensure a healthy, beautiful landscape that uses less water, takes less time to maintain and protects our watershed.

Control Your Controllers
Jill finds that customers are simply unaware of how much water their irrigation systems use. “Once you learn that some sprinkler nozzles can emit just as many gallons per minute as a showerhead, then running your sprinklers too long is like having an entire football team taking a shower on your lawn!”

Jill recommends homeowners learn about their irrigation controllers. California Contractors Association (CLCA)
and the Irrigation Association are certification bodies that list certified irrigation auditors who can help you tune up your system.  Alternatively, you can replace an existing timer with a WaterSense labeled, weather-based model that adjusts based on climatic conditions. In Ventura, if you live within the Casitas Municipal Water District service area, you may qualify for a rebate for a weather-based irrigation timer. 

Spy on Your Sprinklers
No matter how much you water it, you can’t grow pavement. “It’s a waste of money and water when runoff hits an impermeable surface. Moreover, dry weather runoff is a major contributor to ocean pollution,” Jill said. She suggests watching your sprinkler system run through each watering zone at least once to see if concrete is inadvertently being watered. Then you can fix misaligned or broken sprinklers.

Grass doesn’t always need to be watered just because it’s hot outside. “Perform a ‘step test’ on the lawn early in the morning or late evening. If the grass springs back, reduce the watering time. Look at corners and shady areas too. If moss is growing, you are overwatering.”

Go Native with Water-Wise Plants
Jill supports replacing small areas of turf with native or drought-tolerant plants that use little to no additional water once established because they are adapted to the local climate. Check out the Ventura Water Wise Plants website
for ideas, plant selection and hydro-zoning information. 

For more information on summer outdoor irrigation use, please visit
and Ventura Water also sponsors classes and hands-on workshops on Ocean Friendly Gardens throughout the year.  Stay updated on the latest class schedule and event information at or
To read the full version of this article, please visit Ventura Water's new blog.


Santa Clara River Estuary

Special Studies Stakeholder

Meeting Update

Estuary Stakeholder Meeting
Small groups discuss the reuse options of Ventura's reclaimed water.

Last week, nearly 50 stakeholders met to discuss options to reuse the highly treated water currently released by Ventura’s Water Reclamation Facility into Santa Clara River Estuary. Now entering its third year, this meeting was the start of the second phase of studies which are intended to answer the question … “What is the best use of the treated water resources from the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility to protect the health of the Santa Clara River Estuary?”

These studies were required by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board in 2008 by the terms of the City’s discharge permit which allows the treated water to be released into the Estuary. The first study phase scientifically evaluated the potential impacts on the Estuary’s habitat, water quality and recreational opportunities of: 
  • Releasing different volumes of reclaimed water
  • Treating the reclaimed water to a higher water quality level and
  • Combinations of both factors.
Completed last year, the first phase concluded that continuing to release some water is more beneficial to the Estuary than completely removing it.  It was also determined that a second study phase was needed to decide how much water, what quality water, and at what time of year should water be released to optimize support for the aquatic environment. As part of this analysis, the stakeholders worked in small discussion groups during the meeting to identify pros and cons of reusing water for agriculture or urban uses, diverting the water to a wetlands, or using it to recharge groundwater.

These studies are part of the process laid out by the settlement agreement between the City, Heal the Bay and the Wishtoyo Foundation’s Ventura Coastkeeper Program, finalized in December 2012. The new Estuary Protection charge, reflected in customers' bills starting in July, will financially support the development of this program, but to offset the cost of the second phase, Ventura Water recently received two grants totaling $225,000.

Another stakeholder meeting is tentatively scheduled for late October but customers are encouraged to visit to read the completed studies and for ongoing updates on the program.

Stakeholder Meeting Opening
Lydia Holmes of Carollo Engineers explains that the studies are intended to answer the question... “What is the best use of the treated water resources from the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility to protect the health of the Santa Clara River Estuary?”

Dear Customer:

Every day I have the privilege of working with many types of leaders among the ranks of Ventura Water’s 100 staff members. Each member of our staff is dedicated to providing local, reliable and quality services that will endure for all generations. When vacancies arise, it is crucial to find the right person who will not only fill their role in the organization but who will add their originality to help Ventura Water excel in meeting the challenges facing our water resources.

Last month, Omar Castro joined Ventura Water as the Water Utility Manager. His energy and knowledge demonstrate that he is the type of leader who will support a culture of excellence. Omar is a longtime Ventura resident who many of you may know because of his involvement in youth sports in which his children are active. His last professional position was as the Water Operations Manager with Carpinteria Valley Water District and he previously worked for the Casitas Municipal Water District. In addition, Omar serves on the statewide panel to certify water professionals.

His passion is to serve as a mentor and coach to his fellow co-workers. Every organization needs people willing to help us enhance our strengths and find others whose skills and expertise balance us along the path to excellence. We welcome Omar as a great addition to Ventura Water and its vision as an innovative leader enhancing the vitality of Ventura.

Omar Castro
Omar Castro, Water Utility Manager

Enjoy your new beginnings this summer.

Shana Epstein
Shana Epstein
General Manager

Water Take 1

Water Take 1 Online Short Film Contest Announces Addition of Best Student Film Award

Students are encouraged to enter the Water Take 1 global online short film contest to be considered for a special award recently added to the competition through the generosity of
AECOM Technology Corp.
The Water Take 1 short film contest (, sponsored by
Ventura Water, Limoneira and Patagonia, highlights our relationship with water and promotes upcoming water awareness, efficiency and recycling programs.
“We are so pleased to announce the addition of a Best Student Film award to Water Take 1,” said Shana Epstein, Ventura Water General Manager. “Students represent our future and engaging them is crucial to creating practical solutions that will safeguard our water for future generations.”
The submission deadline for all films, including those produced by students, is September 4, 2012.  The Best Student Film award winner will receive a one-year subscription to, consulting services with Will Allen, Creative Director of
Never Without A Picture, and a $200 Patagonia gift certificate.
Filmmakers from across the globe have been invited to submit short films less than five minutes long 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 to the contest’s website,
One of 10 finalists will win the Grand Prize of $1,500 as selected by a distinguished jury of environmental and entertainment professionals. The Grand Prize and Best Student Film awards will be presented at an event hosted by the Brooks Institute on November 8. The film receiving the most votes at will be presented with the Audience Choice award and its filmmaker will receive a Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR camera.
To watch films and vote for your favorite through October 4, visit or visit for more information.
Copyright © 2012 Ventura Water, All rights reserved.