OP-ED by Larry Yee: Ventura should drop lawsuit and support CMWD water connections

web 8 13 Larry Yee

By Larry Yee

What we have taken for granted for a long time is now on everyone’s mind. Any time we turn the tap, flush the toilet, water the plants, irrigate the orchard, or think about the lack of water flowing down the river, water is now in the forefront of our consciousness.

Here in the Ojai Valley, we’ve been bombarded with a number of complicated and confusing issues all stemming from a scarcity of water and concern about our future.

Without adding to the confusion, I’d like to draw your attention to two issues to try to provide some clarity.

First, we are involved in an adjudication lawsuit that started when Santa Barbara Channelkeeper sued the city of Ventura over the amount of water fl owing down the Ventura River. Ventura turned around and is in the process of suing all the users in the Ojai Valley, thus resulting in the adjudication lawsuit that the Ojai Valley News has been following, reporting on, and lately demanding that Ventura drop the lawsuit because Channelkeeper has, for the most part, dismissed its case against Ventura.

Already, Ventura has spent more than $6 million on attorney and associated fees plus many of the parties in the Ojai Valley have retained legal counsel and have spent tens of thousands of dollars.

Adjudication lawsuits tend to go on for years with costs in the millions of dollars, as is already the case. In the end, the court decides how water will be used and managed throughout the watershed.

I agree with the OVN and think the lawsuit should be dropped. It distracts our attention and diverts valuable resources away from the real issue we should all be concerned about — developing a more secure and resilient water future.

Toward that end, Casitas Municipal Water District is working on two connections to the State Water Project. One is connecting Carpinteria (Santa Barbara water) to the Rincon area, which is serviced by Casitas. The other is partnering with Ventura in its connection to Calleguas Municipal Water District, which is a project already in progress.

With both of these connections, the Casitas supply/ demand would be better balanced and the lake would hopefully be stabilized. We may never see a full lake again, but at least it will function as storage enough to provide for our needs.

We should support Casitas in its efforts.

— Larry Yee lives in Ojai.


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