Water challenges in the Ojai Valley area are extreme examples of dwindling groundwater reserves, shrinking storage of reservoir supplies, extended drought, ecological concerns and fire storms — complex problems that need management, leadership and solutions that are complex and often expensive. Below are links to articles, websites and information that can help us understand the complexities of our water supplies, the impact of climate change, water management strategies during a drought, and the importance of watershed management plans.
Ventura River Watershed Council meetings and Presentations http://venturawatershed.org/past-meetings
Great summary of our water situation in News from Water Deeply
href=”https://www.newsdeeply.com/water/articles/2017/10/18/still-in-drought-california-town-seeks-new-answers-to-water-riddle”>Still in Drought, California Town Seeks New Answers to Water Riddle
From Save Our Water Ventura newsletters and newspaper articles about water in Ventura County Star
Environmental Impact Report scoping meeting for City of Ventura to tie into the State Water Project, more info here
REVIEW PERIOD February 28, 2018 through March 30, 2018. “Potential Environmental Impacts: The EIR will consider project-specific environmental impacts directly and indirectly attributable to project components. The project may have significant environmental impacts on the following resources: air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, noise, and transportation/traffic, and may have cumulative impacts.
In-lieu delivery means that the SWP would be delivered to a Ventura Water customer in the Casitas service area, rather than directly delivered to Casitas, and this would offset demand on the Casitas system.”
California Water Efficiency Partnerships is a great source for information
Mavens Notebook the most informative and the most useful website on California water.
Example: Understanding more about Instream Flows Development of Recommended Flow Targets to Support Biological Integrity Based on Regional Flow-Ecology Relationships for Benthic Macroinvertebrates in Southern California Streams
In her recent book, “Replenish: The Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity,” Sandra Postel explores how we can – and how many communities do – address complex and diverse water issues through more holistic and sustainable solutions. “Stewardship is more than a feel-good concept,” writes Postel. “It must yield results. The proof is in the pudding.” By Paul Rogers | email@example.com | Bay Area News Group
New state ballot measure would reward people who build rainwater collection systems
Worried about California’s dry winter? Interested in installing a rainwater capture system from your roof?
A new state ballot measure written by an East Bay lawmaker and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown late Wednesday will put the issue before voters in four months. If voters approve Proposition 72 — which became the fifth statewide ballot measure to qualify for California’s June 5 primary election — property owners who install rainwater capture systems won’t be required to have their property reassessed as the law now requires, saving them from paying higher property taxes.
Similar measures were approved by state voters in the 1980s and 1990s to encourage the installation of residential solar power, fire sprinklers, and upgrades for people with disabilities.
“We have a new norm with boom-and-bust cycles of rain and drought,” said the measure’s author, Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda. “There are lots of things we need to do to deal with that, not just reservoir storage, but also on a personal level, capturing rainwater that comes down on your property is another answer.”
Glazer said last week that he hopes rainwater capture will take off in California in the coming years the way that solar power has.
“People shouldn’t pay a tax penalty for conserving water,” he said. “And it worked for solar.”
Judy Adler, of Walnut Creek, stands in her backyard next to her three 3,000-galloon water reservoir tanks at her home in Walnut Creek, Calif. on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. Adler estimates that she is able to capture 30,000 gallons of rain water from the roof of her 2,800 square-foot house during an average of 18 inches of rain per year. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
Studies show that a typical house with a 1,500-square-foot roof in an area that receives 12 inches of rain a year can collect 10,800 gallons of water a year, according to the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association in Tempe, Arizona. Because the water is usually not treated, it is often used for landscape irrigation, gardens and ponds rather than drinking.
It’s unknown how many California residents have rainwater capture systems. But the technology became very popular in Australia when that country’s decade-long “Millennium Drought” led to water shortages. In Australia, 32 percent of all eligible homes installed rainwater capture systems after the federal government offered rebates in 2009 of up to $1,500.
However, the project is not cheap.
In most Bay Area cities, water costs less than 1 cent per gallon from city water departments or private companies. To capture 10,000 gallons a year, a homeowner would need two tanks of 5,000 gallons, each of which range in price from $2,500 to $5,000.
If the entire system cost $10,000, including altering gutters and downspouts to pipe the water into the tanks and building pads for the tanks, the 10,000 gallons of water that the system would capture in its first year would cost $100 or less to purchase from a typical city water department.
The functional environmental artwork by Peter Richards was unveiled at the San Jose Environmental Innovation Center (EIC) during the grand opening of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, May 30, 2014. The 6,600-gallon water tank collects and stores rainwater captured on the roof. The water is used to irrigate a grove of 100-year-old olive trees.
Supporters note that the tanks, which are made of polyethylene plastic or steel, can last decades, and that the cost of water is expected to go up. Also, they say, in severe droughts, rainwater capture allows property owners to keep gardens or water lawns, and it helps free up more water for drinking. Still, without financial incentives from the state or local water agencies, it’s not likely that rainwater capture will pay for itself in most homeowners’ lifetimes.
For now, that’s not what motivates people who are installing the technology.
“This is something that isn’t just about saving money. It’s about doing the right thing,” said Judy Adler, a Walnut Creek resident who installed an 11,000-gallon rainwater capture system on her property in 2012. “It is about being self-reliant, reducing demand on drinking water and helping the environment.”
Adler uses the water from her four large tanks, which cost $6,000 six years ago, to water landscaping and fill a pond on her property that is home to frogs, fish and dragonflies. Glazer said that he was inspired to introduce the bill, SB 558, after Adler came to one of his community meetings.
Adler, a biology instructor at Mount Diablo State Park, said her 2,700 square-foot suburban house can generate 30,000 gallons of water in a typical year when it rains 18 inches in Walnut Creek. Her tanks are built to last 40 years, she said.
“More and more people are starting to do this. People are coming to me for advice,” she said.
“It’s changing awareness about the preciousness of water,” she added. “I think that California has the opportunity to develop a new water conservation industry with a lot of low-tech, easy-to-install systems for people who don’t have degrees in rocket science.”
Experts say financial incentives and a neighbor’s example will be needed for rainwater capture to take off the way rooftop solar systems have in California. But the ballot measure — supported in the Assembly 76-0 and the state Senate 39-0 with the support of environmental groups, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and building industry groups — is a promising beginning.
“I think this ballot measure is a great idea,” said Newsha Ajami, director of urban water policy at Stanford University. “It makes people part of the solution, rather than just being a consumer of goods. It connects people to where their water comes from.”
CALIFORNIA’S JUNE BALLOT MEASURES
In addition to the governor’s race and other contests, the five measures that have qualified for the June statewide ballot are:
Proposition 68: a $4 billion parks and water bond
Proposition 69: A measure that would prohibit state lawmakers from spending revenues from the new law that Gov. Jerry Brown signed last year creating a 12-cent per gallon gas tax and 20-cent per gallon diesel tax on anything other than road, highway and other transportation projects.
Proposition 70: A measure that requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate and Assembly in 2024 on how to spend auction revenues from California’s cap-and-trade program.
Proposition 71: A measure that would require that state ballot measures approved by the voters take effect five days after the secretary of state certifies the election results.
Proposition 72: A measure to allow rainwater capture systems to be installed without counting as new construction for the purposes of reassessing property taxes.