About the Water Advisory Group

On April 25, 2017, Larry Yee announced the formation of a Water Advisory Group (WAG) at the Ojai City Council Meeting.  The purpose of this small 4-person group (Larry Yee, Rosalie Zabilla, Richard Hajas, Peter Thielke) was to analyze the growing water crisis situation in the Ojai Valley brought on by 5 straight years of drought and a seriously low-level Lake Casitas and to explore possible scenarios and solutions.

Acting like a quasi-think tank, WAG has met almost every other week since May and has carefully, deliberately studied and analyzed what is a rather complex and intricate history about the use and management of water in Ventura County with an emphasis on the Ojai Valley.

Contact us at:  ojaiwag@gmail.com


Five consecutive years of only one-half of average rainfall has reduced local groundwater levels and Lake Casitas storage levels to record lows.  Water users in western Ventura County are subject to costly water conservation, allocation, and rationing programs for the second time in the past 25 years.  Eastern Ventura County has one source of water, through a single pipeline from the California State Water Project (SWP).   An interruption in the imported water supplies by a catastrophic earthquake or other event could leave a large portion of Ventura County without water for as long as 6 months.

The Problem

Calleguas Municipal Water District and the eastern Ventura County have access to the vast water resources of Metropolitan Water District (MET) and the SWP, but have a vulnerable delivery system.  The City of Ventura has a variety of groundwater supplies that are capable of producing a small surplus of water during normal years, but no water supply reserves for dry periods.  The Casitas Municipal Water District (Casitas) service area has groundwater supplies that satisfy only about 40% of the water needs.  In a normal year 60% of the area’s water supply is Lake Casitas.  During dry years both groundwater supplies and Casitas lake levels are low.   Ventura County has little or no reserve water supplies to satisfy the county’s needs during drought or emergency conditions.

The groups initial goal is to have the three water agencies discuss the merits of this proposal.

Richard Hajas,
Feb 11, 2018, 3:05 PM