Stormwater, Drainage and Beaches


What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is generated when water flows over impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, building rooftops) and does not percolate into the ground. This water can be from rainstorms, garden hoses, sprinklers, etc.

What is Stormwater Pollution?

As stormwater runoff flows over land or impervious surfaces, it accumulates pollutants such as debris, chemicals, sediment or other bacteria that can adversely affect water quality. This runoff flows through local creeks, rivers and lakes - eventually draining, untreated, into the ocean. All storm drains in the City of Ventura flow untreated to the ocean. Items like cigarette butts, pet waste, leaves, grass, oil, fast food wrappers, etc. belong in the trash or yard waste bin, NOT in the gutters and storm drains.

The best way to protect our waterways and keep them clean and pollution free, is by following best management practices (BMPs). In addition, most stormwater discharges are considered point source and require coverage under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Many of our daily activities have the potential to cause stormwater pollution. Car washing detergents, lawn and garden fertilizers and pesticides, pool/spa chemicals, oil, gasoline, paint products and many more such items are potentially hazardous and/or life threatening to plant life, people and animals, and were never intended for our watersheds, beaches and oceans. 

The "Don't Dump, Drains to Ocean" postings throughout each city within Ventura County is a continuing reminder that we all need to be concerned about stormwater. After all, the majority of these negative impacts can be reduced or eliminated altogether.

What is the City doing to prevent Stormwater Pollution?

  • Water Wise Gardening Classes & Compost Workshops
  • Illicit discharge hotline: 805-667-6510
  • Cigarette butt containers on promenade (see photo below right) No smoking allowed in Ventura parks or on beaches. Cigarette butts are harmful to the environment. They are among the most frequently picked up items during beach clean ups. The City of Ventura provides these cigarette butt receptacles along the promenade to deter people from littering.

What is a Watershed?

A watershed is an area of land that collects water when it rains or snows. Through gravity, water is channeled into soils, groundwater, creeks, and lakes and drains into larger bodies of water such as rivers. Eventually, the water flows to an ocean. We all live in a watershed, and whatever we do to the land will affect water quality downstream.

Ventura is located in two watersheds – the Ventura River Watershed, and the Santa Clara River Watershed. Both of these rivers flow into the Pacific Ocean.

Click on the following links to learn more:

Outreach Materials:

Projects in the City of Ventura: (coming soon)


Local Groups and Volunteer Opportunities:

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