Ventura's water-rationing ordinance is designed to cut the city's water consumption by 30% annually through reduced usage, limitations on new water connections and steep penalties for violators.

The ordinance divides users into three categories--single-family residential, multiple-family residential and non-residential.

The amount of water allowed each residence will be determined by a flat allowance per dwelling, or "account," plus an additional allowance based on past usage. Non-residential allocations will be based on past usage only.

According to Henry Graumlich, Public Works Department administrative assistant, the first two-month billing period after the ordinance becomes effective on April 13 will be considered an adjustment period. "No penalties will be imposed for excessive usage during that time," he said. "Before any penalties are assessed, each customer will be notified by mail as to his usage allocation."


Single-family homes with four or fewer permanent occupants are limited to a basic 294 gallons a day. The city Water Department says this equals 24 HCF (hundred cubic feet) per bimonthly billing period.

In addition, single-family homes are allowed 55% of average annual usage exceeding 144 HCF at the same location, based on usage in 1987, 1988 and 1989. The increase is limited to 30 HCF a year. An HCF equals 748 gallons.

If more than four people live in a single-family home, the city may increase the allocation by 49 gallons daily for each additional occupant.


Multifamily homes, including apartments, condominiums, townhouses and mobile homes, are limited to 196 gallons daily plus 40% of average annual 1987-89 usage in excess of 96 HCF, with the increase limited to 21 HCF a year.

If more than three people live in a multiple unit, the allocation may be raised by 49 gallons a day per additional resident.


Most non-residential accounts are limited to 85% of past usage, based, again, on 1987 through 1989 billings. If a business has grown dramatically in the past year, its allocation will be based on the most recent year rather than on a three-year average.

The deepest cut of all will be taken by non-residential accounts used only for ornamental landscaping. They're limited to 55% of average usage over the past three years.


State and local government agencies will take a larger cut than commercial accounts, being limited to 80% of past usage. "They're expected to serve as an example," Graumlich explained.


New residents will be assigned the appropriate basic allocation plus an additional allocation based on their home's usage history. New businesses will receive allocations based on such factors as property use, square footage and number of employees.

No new water service connections, increased connections or net increase in plumbing fixtures will be allowed except for the following:

* New single-family homes finished as of Jan. 29, 1990.

* Additions to existing homes or businesses, provided water-efficient fixtures are installed throughout the property.

* New developments that have received discretionary approvals as of Jan. 29 or have already received other appropriate approvals.

* Housing projects designated exclusively for low- and moderate-income residents as defined in the city's Comprehensive Plan.


A customer who exceeds an allocation during one billing period or two consecutive periods must pay a surcharge of four times the highest established rate for all excess water used.

A customer who exceeds the allocation for three consecutive billing periods will be charged 10 times the highest established rate for excess water used.

After three straight periods of excessive use, the city may install a flow-restricting device at the customer's expense.

A customer wishing to appeal any ruling under the ordinance must do so in writing to the city clerk or the city water superintendent. If the appeal is denied, a further appeal may be made to the city manager, whose ruling is final.

REASONS FOR INCREASED ALLOCATIONS Ventura's water-rationing ordinance specifies 11 reasons for requesting increased allocations. They are:

1. Additional people residing full-time at a residence--that is, more than four in a single-family house or more than three in an apartment or condominium.

2. Medical and sanitation needs.

3. Change of property use.

4. Valid business in a home.

5. Livestock such as cows, horses or other large animals.

6. Construction activity such as new home construction or remodeling if the use of reclaimed water is unfeasible.

7. Mature fruit trees.

8. Maintenance of landscaping required for slope stability or fire protection.

9. All reasonable conservation measures are being employed by a non-residential customer.

10. Where a non-residential customer's use has grown from 1987 to 1989, the reduction will be based on 1989 usage rather than on an average of all three years.

11. Hospital and health care facilities.

Applications for increases must be submitted to the city water superintendent.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World