By Dr Kevin McNamee
A recent report from the Ventura County grand jury says that “without major, immediate changes, Ventura’s water shortages will be at a scary level within five years.” The report concluded that cities must address water needs. “Ventura County may have survived the worst of the state’s drought but . . . several cities rely too much on imported water and haven’t developed plans for an emergency water shortage.”
It’s clear that our cities need to address the issue because Sacramento legislature is not. Ventura County cities are on their own to solve this one.
Doing back-of-envelope calculations reveal a creative, economically viable solution including a continuous infrastructure revenue stream:
Calleguas Municipal Water District, which supplies the drinking water for Thousand Oaks and most of Ventura County, purchases annually 87,541 acrefeet of water, costing $82.5 million, from the Metropolitan Water District. After conventional water treatment, Calleguas distributes the drinking water to the city and county.
An innovative solution to consider, making the county less dependent on imported water, is to redirect the ultra-pure effluent back to Calleguas for reuse. It would save $11.4 million dollars for the Thousand Oaks resident which will lower the average homeowner $600 annually.
The result is for Thousand Oaks to become less dependent on imported water in Los Angeles, for Central Valley farmers to have more water, and having a continual revenue stream to maintain water and wastewater systems without raising rates or floating construction bonds.