The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) mandates that local agencies establish locally-controlled groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) for managing groundwater resources. SGMA defines a local agency as “a local public agency that has water supply, water management, or land use responsibilities within a groundwater basin.” Although public agencies must implement the provisions of SGMA, the governance of the GSA is not limited to public agencies.
The process of forming a GSA for the Upper Ventura River Groundwater Basin was initiated by a collaboration of five agencies that have an interest in the basin: Ventura River Water District, Meiners Oaks Water District, City of Ventura (Ventura Water), Casitas Municipal Water District, and the County of Ventura. These agencies, now collectively called the Formation Committee, are described below.
Ventura River Water District
The Ventura River Water District (VRWD) is a special district that provides water in the neighborhoods from Casitas Springs to the City of Ojai at the Vons shopping center. VRWD’s service encompasses about 2,220 acres, and includes residential and commercial customers. VRWD has approximately 2,100 service connections and serves a population of about 5,700 people.
VRWD obtains water from four wells adjacent to the Ventura River within the Upper Ventura River Groundwater Basin. Casitas Springs customers are always supplied water from Casitas Municipal Water District. VRWD also has an agreement to purchase water from Casitas during emergencies and drought conditions.
Meiners Oaks Water District
Meiners Oaks Water District (MOWD) is a special district that provides water in the Meiners Oaks community on the east side of the Ventura River. MOWD’s service area encompasses approximately 1,300 acres, and includes residential, commercial, and agricultural customers. MOWD has approximately 1,200 service connections, serving about 4,200 people.
MOWD obtains water from five wells located adjacent to the Ventura River and within the Upper Ventura River Groundwater Basin. The district has an arrangement to purchase water from Casitas during emergencies and drought conditions.
Ventura Water is the name of the City of Ventura’s department that treats and supplies water, collects and treats wastewater, supplies recycled water, and collaborates with the Public Works Department to manage stormwater. Ventura Water’s service area encompasses the incorporated land of the City, with a population of over 109,000 people and approximately 31,000 service connections.
The City of Ventura obtains water supplies from five sources: Casitas Municipal Water District, Ventura River Foster Park facilities (wells in the Upper Ventura River Groundwater Basin and a subsurface diversion in the river), Mound Groundwater Basin, Oxnard Plain Groundwater Basin, and Santa Paula Groundwater Basin. Ventura also produces recycled water from the Ventura Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
Casitas Municipal Water District
Casitas Municipal Water District is a special district that supplies both wholesale and retail water. Their service area encompasses 150 square miles and includes the City of Ojai, Upper Ojai, the Ventura River Valley area, the City of Ventura south to about Mills Road, and the coastal Rincon area to the Santa Barbara County line. Casitas has approximately 3,200 service connections, including 300 agricultural connections. Nine public and private water agencies use Casitas water. All of these water agencies rely on water from Casitas when their groundwater supplies are depleted.
The primary source of Casitas’s water is Lake Casitas. The district also operates one well in the Mira Monte area in the Upper Ventura River Groundwater Basin.
County of Ventura
The mission of the County of Ventura is to provide superior public service and support so that all residents have the opportunity to improve their quality of life while enjoying the benefits of a safe, healthy, and vibrant community. As part of the Upper Ventura Groundwater Sustainability Agency the County will exercise this mission through: countywide water supply reliability and long range planning; land use planning, zoning, development review and permitting in unincorporated County areas; well permitting and monitoring; storm water resource management; flood risk reduction; and human health and safety activities.