Editor’s Note: Our Living with Drought presentation on Thursday, May 26 was attended by a packed house. Stay tuned for a YouTube version coming soon.
Save Our Water, Ojai! Upcoming Workshops:
Water-Saving Landscapes: Rainwater Harvesting and Turf Reduction Workshop. This workshop will explain the process of converting water thirsty lawns into landscapes that slow, spread, and sink rainwater. Join us to learn the basics of turf removal, ways to capture and store rainwater, native plant selection and care, plus the importance of mulch. Participants will receive a workbook explaining what is appropriate for their landscape and plant list resources, along with a tour of a front yard redesigned to capture rainwater.
When: Saturday, June 4 in Ojai.
Water-Saving Landscapes: Greywater Laundry-to-Landscape Workshop. Greywater systems are especially important in times of drought and can greatly reduce your outdoor water use. Come learn how to reuse laundry water, including design considerations, water saving potential, costs, regulations, health and safety, soaps and products, and plants that are a good match for your home and landscape. A guided tour of an existing installation and a workbook with helpful resources is included to help you start a sustainable water saving landscape transformation.
When: Saturday, June 18 in Ojai.
Cost per workshop is $10 for OVGC members & city residents, $20 for non-members. See complete details and payment options here.
On the horizon and looking at the big picture is the 2014 California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which aims to strengthen local control and management of groundwater basins, and requires local agencies to form groundwater sustainability agencies (GSA) by June of 2017.
With this new legislation the hope is to avoid undesirable outcomes such as:
- Chronic lowering of groundwater levels indicating a significant and unreasonable depletion of supply if continued over the planning and implementation horizon;
- Significant and unreasonable reduction of groundwater storage;
- Seawater intrusion;
- Degraded water quality including the migration of contaminant plumes that impair water supplies;
- Land subsidence;
- Depletions of interconnected surface water that have significant and unreasonable adverse impacts on beneficial uses of the surface water.
These GSAs must be formed to address groundwater basins determined by the state to be of high or medium priority. Two of the Ventura River watershed’s four groundwater basins are ranked medium priority: Ojai Basin and Upper Ventura River Basin.
The forming Upper Ventura River Groundwater Sustainability Agency (UVRGSA) is comprised of four regional water suppliers (Ventura River Water District, Meiners Oaks Water District, City of Ventura (Ventura Water), and Casitas Municipal Water District) and the County of Ventura. The current Formation Committee has twelve members and hopes to have the UVRGS Agency established by the end of 2016. Once in place, the Agency will develop the required groundwater sustainability plan for the basin.
According to Ventura River Water District director Bruce Kuebler, the committee intends to have a 7-member Board of Directors consisting of a representative from each of 5 public agencies and one each representing agriculture and environmental organizations.
The Committee will hold its third public meeting on Tuesday, June 14, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm, at the Oak View Community Center, 18 Valley Road, Oak View. This meeting will offer members of the public the opportunity to review the draft Joint Powers Agreement (JPA), which is a legal agreement between the five public agencies that outlines the manner in which they will operate together as the GSA.
The Ojai Basin on the other hand, is one of a handful of special cases in California because it already has a state-created agency, the Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency (OBGMA), to oversee its management. Although OBGMA will need to make some changes in response to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the agency is well ahead of UVRGSA because it has an established governing structure in place.
In response to the legislation, OBGMA submitted a resolution to the California Department of Water Resources in January 2015 requesting that OBGMA become the Groundwater Sustainability Agency for the Ojai Basin.
The OBGMA is now moving forward with development of the sustainable groundwater management plan mandated by the legislation. Because of basin monitoring, modeling studies, and other research already conducted on the basin, the agency has considerable data and information with which to develop the plan.