Rivers & Estuaries


Ventura Estuary

The City of Ventura is bordered by the Santa Clara River to the south and the Ventura River to the north.


Ventura Water and Public Interest Groups Protect Santa Clara River Estuary with Settlement

On December 12, 2011, the City Council approved the final agreement between Ventura Water, Heal the Bay, and Wishtoyo Foundation’s Ventura Coastkeeper Program that will, by 2025, forever change how the City’s reclamation facility uses and discharges its highly treated water into the Santa Clara River Estuary.  The approval vote followed 120 days of extensive public outreach, including a Town Hall meeting in November 2011 which was attended by nearly 50 residents and other interested stakeholders. 

The settlement will resolve a long-standing debate about the impact of the tertiary treated water on the sensitive ecology of the Estuary as well as associated legal and administrative actions against the City.  Innovative in its approach, the settlement outlines common goals and a collaborative process which relies on the best available science to decide how to use the reclaimed water produced by the wastewater facility in the future.   The major points of the long-term settlement include:

  • Creating opportunities to use between 50-100% of the treated water for landscaping or other non-drinking uses to stretch water supplies and reduce the amount released into the Estuary
  • If any treated water is still released into the Estuary, a treatment wetlands will be constructed to further improve water quality
  • Working together with Ventura Water’s customers to arrive at the most responsible and sustainable solution for the health of the Estuary and Ventura’s water supply by 2025.

The next phase of the Santa Clara River Estuary Special Studies is underway and all Ventura Water customers are invited to attend the next Stakeholder Meeting to learn more about the scientific research being conducted to guide how the water will be reused in the future.

The total costs of these projects is capped at $55 million in today's dollars, with an inflationary factor to be applied for future costs. The different options to fund this program were evaluated during Ventura Water’s Cost of Service and Rate Design Study and as a result, the water and wastewater rates include an Estuary Protection Charge as a separate cost.  Since the rates are for the next two years and the collaborative process will continue in a planning phase during this time, the Advisory Committee recommended and the City Council agreed, that the monies generated by the charge should be used for planning expenses only.

If your group or organization would like to schedule a presentation about the settlement or if you would like more information, please contact Nancy Broschart at nbroschart@venturawater.net.  More information:

Council Meeting Powerpoint Presentation (December 12, 2011)

Council Administrative Report (December 12, 2011 - pdf 9.96MB)

Town Hall Meeting Powerpoint Presentation (November 10, 2011)

Ventura's Water Future: Video Overview of Settlement (November 8, 2011)

Santa Clara River Estuary Settlement Town Hall Meeting Press Release (November 1, 2011)

Ventura Water and Public Interest Groups Protect Santa Clara River Estuary with Settlement Press Release
(August 17, 2011)

Santa Clara River Estuary Settlement FAQs (August 17, 2011)

Memorandum of Agreement Regarding Settlement Terms (August 11, 2011- pdf 3,751KB)