Water staff handing out water saving resources and devices. Oxnard residents can request free water saving devices and resources from any Water Division staff vehicle they may see in the field.

This is the third consecutive year of the least amount of rainfall in the state of California. Public Works Director, Michael Wolfe said to VIDA Newspaper, “It’s certainly some of the most severe times the state has seen in the last many years, in terms of rainfall and snow pack and so I would say it’s pretty severe.”
Earlier this year, on May 17, the City Council declared a local drought emergency and implemented a stronger outreach campaign and implemented mandatory water use restrictions.
A couple of those restrictions currently include no watering of non-functional turf meaning turf that is ornamental and is not regularly used for recreation or for community events and adhering to a one day a week watering schedule based on the address of the home.
On Nov. 1, the Council passed an emergency ordinance that allows up to certain levels of fines for those who violate the water restrictions.
“We really strive to take the inform and educate approach when it comes to water waste. So when water waste is reported for that first violation we reach out to the customer with an informational letter letting them know of the issue that’s occurring, giving them information on resources to help them as well as contact information. For the second violation, we send them a written notice saying they can be fined if the issue continues. Then the third violation is when fine amounts start, beginning with $100 then $300 and escalates to $700 if the issue continues. although Oxnard’s overall water consumption has decreased from last year’s consumption, we are asking residents to continue to do their part as we prepare for a good possibility of another dry year ahead,” said Water Conservation and Outreach Supervisor Megan Schneider.

Some of these restrictions have come from the state such as the no watering of non-functional turf and some restrictions came from the Metropolitan Watering District of Southern California and others are simply best manageable practices seen from past drought cycles that have proven effective.
Wolfe also mentioned there being a water shortage contingency plan adopted by the city and council that provides guidance in terms of those kinds of actions and restrictions for battling the drought.
The City of Oxnard receives approximately up to 40% of its water from the state water project which comes through the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The remaining 60% comes from groundwater.
Wolfe said, “our groundwater gets treated in multiple ways whether that be through a regular filter or may go through our desalter plants in which we take some of the minerals out of that water to produce potable water.”
The city’s sewer water that gets treated through the Oxnard treatment plant goes through the Advanced Water Purification Facility (AWPF) and is treated further to make ultra pure water that gets sold to agricultural businesses in the Greater Oxnard and Ventura County areas where they use it to irrigate some of their products.
Schneider said “Oxnard residents historically have done a great job at being good water stewards.”
Based on an analysis from past demands from 2002-2021, water use post the last drought in 2014 has remained about 15% lower than pre-drought levels due water conservation classes, rebates and more efficient water fixtures.
Schneider continued stating that after the local drought emergency declaration in May combined with a stronger outreach campaign, “we again saw a downward trend in consumption begin so I think people in general are willing to do their part.”
“Being water efficient continues to be a top priority for staff in achieving water conservation goals and directives from both the state and locally,” mentioned Schneider.
Wolfe and Schneider highly encourage residents to visit the Oxnardwater.org website to sign up for water conservation programs, rain barrel rebates, turf replacement programs and more or call the hotline at 805-385-3905 for additional information and resources.
“Oxnardwater.org is the best place to stay up to date on current water use restrictions and programs available. Our Conservation hotline is staffed during regular City business hours and another great resource for residents to get information (bilingual speakers available). We also encourage all residents to report water waste through the City’s 311 application or by calling the conservation hotline. Every drop makes a difference,” Wolfe, said to VIDA Newspaper!