Even with our drought and current lake level, Casitas has water resources for the future. The District is actively engaged in managing existing local water resources and has various water security strategies in place.
Our Water Supply
Casitas Municipal Water District's water supply is comprised of water stored in Lake Casitas and groundwater in the Ojai Valley.
*Per OBGMA, 2017 Groundwater Extraction: 3,200 AF.
Water Supply Management
Casitas Municipal Water District manages water supply primarily through the Water Efficiency and Allocation Program, or WEAP. The Program ensures allocations of water and conservation targets are in line with drought conditions.
Water Security Projects
The District has been pursuing various capital improvements that will bring access to more supply and capacity district-wide.
Ojai Well Field Rehabilitation
This project includes the rehabilitation and replacement of several drinking water wells operated by CMWD in the Ojai Groundwater Basin. The goal is to bring the wells back to their original production capacity by improving and enhancing infrastructure.
The District awarded a contract to rehabilitate one well in March 2019, which is expected to be completed by the end of April 2019. An additional well is scheduled for rehabilitation after the high summer demand period. The budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 will also include funding for a replacement well, which is expected to be online prior to summer of 2020.
Casitas- Ventura State Water Project Interconnection
This project involves the construction of a pipeline to connect the City of Ventura's water system to the Calleguas Municipal Water Districts' water system. This shared connection will allow the City, United Water Conservation District, and Casitas MWD to access their individual State Water Project allocations through Calleguas via the Metropolitan Water District.
To this end, Casitas has shared in the cost of the City of Ventura's State Water Interconnection Alignment Study and Environmental Impact Report.
Casitas also recently retained an engineering firm to prepare a Preliminary Design Report for the facilities to bring water from the west side of Ventura to connect to Casitas' transmission pipelines near Foster Park and extend to Lake Casitas. The report is expected to be complete by the end of 2019.
Ventura-Santa Barbara Counties Interconnection
This project includes construction of a pipeline and pump station between Casitas MWD and Carpinteria Valley Water District. This intertie would allow each agency to provide water to the other during an emergency and provide Casitas with a means of accessing its State Water Project allocation using excess capacity in the South Coast Conduit pipeline in Santa Barbara County.
Casitas recently retained consultants to perform preliminary design and environmental/permitting services to support grant applications through the California Office of Emergency (CalOES) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Matilija Formation Deep Wells
This project includes the construction of one or more deep water wells in the Matilija Formation. The District is investigating both horizontal and vertical wells in the vicinity of the Robles Diversion Facility. Water would be extracted under pressure and either treated or discharged to the Robles Canal for delivery to Lake Casitas. The project's operational parameters will be determined through the CEQA* process and is currently proposed to only be used during times of drought or other emergency. Casitas is convening a Technical Advisory Committee to review background documents and feasibility of this project; findings and recommendations are expected in June 2019.
Horizontal Bore (HOBO). The HOBO project is awaiting approval from the US Forest Service for the installation of stream monitoring gauges to assess the viability of the project.
Robles Deep Vertical Bore (RDVB). The District is in the process of completing an Initial/Study Mitigated Negative Declaration to comply with CEQA for a test well. Plans and specifications are being prepared for construction of the test well, which would be monitored for several years to gather information on water quality and quantity.
Ojai Desalter Project
This project involves a new deep well and the installation of treatment equipment to remove high levels of salt. Equipment typically used includes a membrane treatment plant and a pipeline to the local wastewater system to dispose of brine concentrate from the treatment process.
Currently, Casitas is not pursuing this project as the focus is on rehabilitating or replacing existing wells.
Water Security - Frequently Asked Questions
Lake Casitas currently contains about 79,000 acre feet of water, and there are approximately 60,000 acre feet of water in the Ojai Groundwater Basin. The District’s current total water supply is approximately 139,000 acre feet. The current demand for this water is approximately 14,100 acre feet per year, plus evaporation of about 4,740 AFY for a total of 18,840 AFY.
It is important to note that even during historical long-term droughts, there were large rain events that re-supplied the lake. Lake Casitas is a large reservoir designed to last through long droughts, and with significant water conservation measures and projects to augment our water supplies, it will be well positioned to provide water security for Western Ventura County.
In accordance with state law and regulations, Casitas has always planned for the best management of its water resources to ensure water security for our customers. Casitas Municipal Water District maintains a long-term adequate water supply by making sure we use water at a pace that could be sustained in a 20-year drought cycle. Part of this plan is the Water Efficiency and Allocation Program (WEAP), which was most recently updated in May 2018.
Western Ventura County has remained vigilant in protecting and utilizing local water supplies. Each of the previous droughts have resulted in the local efforts to seek additional water supplies, such as Matilija Dam and the Ventura River Project (Lake Casitas). The current extended drought has again raised the question of whether local water supplies are enough to support our local water needs. The Casitas Municipal Water District is actively pursuing additional water supplies such as untapped groundwater and the importation of State Water in cooperation with the City of Ventura and the Calleguas Municipal Water District.
In Stage 3 drought conditions, the water restrictions for residential customers are:
Hoses must be equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle when in use;
Irrigation with potable water is prohibited between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. for automatic systems for all residential customers;
Irrigation with potable water that causes runoff onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or parking structures is prohibited; and
Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited.
Yes, at Stage 3 drought conditions, our WEAP target is to reduce our annual normal water demand by 30% with water conservation measures. This target is reflected in every customer’s assigned water allocation, which can be updated depending on the stage of drought we are in. If customers adhere to their assigned allocations, our current water use reduction target will be met.
Any water saved now can help prevent more severe actions needed in the future as drought conditions continue. Casitas urges all customers (residential, business, commercial, etc.) to evaluate their water use and find further opportunities to conserve. The District provides water surveys free of charge to all our customers. Please contact Michael Flood, Assistant General Manager, at 805-649-2251 or email@example.com for more information for a free water survey.
Water conservation is the most important, fastest and cost-effective way to ensure our water supply remains sustainable. As we work to reduce our demand on the lake as much as possible, Casitas Municipal Water District is actively analyzing alternative water supply options to become more resilient in long-term droughts. In evaluating alternative options, the District must balance the water project’s additional amount of water and technical feasibility with the increased cost to all of our customers for the project. The options we are evaluating include two deep well projects, optimizing the Ojai water system and its wells, and obtaining a shared connection to the State Water Project in cooperation with the City of Ventura and the Calleguas Municipal Water District.
New water supplies, along with continued water conservation efforts, will create greater local water resilience in western Ventura County.