OP–ED by Bert J. Rapp: Solve the adjudication with Physical Solution

web Bert Rapp

Photo courtesy the City of Fillmore, Public Works department

Bert J. Rapp


By Bert J. Rapp

The Ventura River water adjudication lawsuit angers people, is expensive and divisive. But it’s here and so is the State Water Resources Control Board, which is preparing to require more water in the Ventura River. The Ventura River Water District believes the best solution for both issues is for all parties to work on the draft Physical Solution.


The Physical Solution is a document before the court that outlines enhancements all parties will make to improve conditions for the protected steelhead.

The Physical Solution emphasizes working together to improve the aquatic habitat, does not adjudicate water rights, minimizes supplemental fl ows to the river, and will be adaptively managed.

Regardless of different perspectives on the adjudication or state regulation, we believe it is essential that all parties work now on the draft Physical Solution, before the State Water Resources Control Board completes its water restrictions. Here is why:

1. The SWRCB and Department of Fish & Wildlife made the unusual decision to become parties to the adjudication and are contributing to the draft Physical Solution. Therefore, the Physical Solution will likely infl uence decision makers at the state.

2. SWRCB authority is limited to restricting water use; it does not have authority to require habitat improvements or concepts like capturing excess water in wet years and discharging it in dry years to mitigate pumping. The Physical Solution is based upon opinions of multiple experts that habitat improvement will provide more benefi t to the fi shery than increased fl ows alone.

3. Timing is critical. The Physical Solution is needed now to reduce or prevent SWRCB pumping/diversion regulations.

The Physical solution is locally based, avoids adjudicating water rights, improves steelhead habitat and leaves more water in Lake Casitas.

Learn more at:

— Bert J. Rapp, P.E., is general manager of the Ventura River Water District, serving 5,700 people in 3.3 square miles in a portion of the city of Ojai, Mira Monte, Oak View and Casitas Springs.

Not a subscriber?  choose your subscription plan.