For hundreds of years, the Ventura River has been a water resource that supports both wildlife and people. The river provides habitat for wildlife, including endangered species; water for people, agriculture, and industry; and opportunities for recreation and rejuvenation. The river is also a source of cultural significance to native communities. Despite the multiple values and functions it provides, the health of the river is in jeopardy.
The City of Ventura pumps hundreds of millions of gallons of water from the Ventura River each year, often completely dewatering parts of the river during times of scarcity and causing harm to habitat, endangered species, water quality, and recreation. The State Water Board has officially designated the Ventura River as impaired by excessive pumping and diversions, and it has a constitutional duty to prevent the unreasonable use of the state’s waters, which include the Ventura River. Despite this, the City continues to pump, and the State Water Board has done nothing to address it, putting the health of the river and all its uses in serious jeopardy.
Channelkeeper has filed a lawsuit to compel the State Water Board to scientifically analyze the “reasonableness” of the City’s use of the river and to find a workable balance between the competing demands for water and the need and legal responsibility to keep the river alive and flowing.