Western Ventura County looks into connecting with state water project

Ventura County discusses connecting to state water

VENTURA, Calif. - Even with all the recent storms and this past wet winter many local areas are still in drought conditions and trying to figure out how to keep water supplies from reaching critical levels.

On Wednesday Ventura County water district leaders came together to discuss the possibility of connecting the entire county to the state water project.

Currently Eastern Ventura County has access to state water but Western Ventura County does not.  To solve this a pipeline would be placed between the two sections of the county so all districts could pull from the state water resource.

“It is necessary with climate change and with more water being diverted into the creeks to protect fish there is just not as much water.  So the best thing we can do when there is not as much water is diversify our water portfolios and get it from a number of different supplies.  So that when one is available another one might not be,” said Susan Mulligan of Calleguas Municipal Water District.

The discussion to find more avenues to bring water into the county comes after Ventura County found itself in drought conditions for several years, and a quickly diminishing water supply.

“We have continuing diminishing supplies either from regulations or climate change.  So we really have to look at how to add water onto our supply, “ said Shana Epstein of Ventura Water.

An engineering study is currently underway to find out the costs of the infrastructure and best placement for the pipeline.  While the project isn’t cheap it is anticipated to be much more reasonable then other options.

“Desal is the most costly option so we are really looking at desal as the last option.  So we are trying to explore conservation, water use efficiency, water reuse, imported supplies,” said Epstein.

Water officials say rates will be going up with the state water project or any new water supply by two to three times.

“Our customers will pay for this reliability and it will cost more and will be spread out hopefully amongst all those who benefit from it so that the cost is minimized,” said Epstein, “We can always say to our customers, ‘the best way to minimize those cost going up is to conserve and use the right amount of water.’”

Construction wouldn’t begin until water officials approve plans.  The pipeline would take at minimum a couple years to build.

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