Fillmore Gazette: Ventura Needs Reliable Water Supply

Fillmore Gazette: Ventura Needs Reliable Water Supply

Ventura County Water - wheel meeting


Submission: Ventura Needs Reliable Water Supply

Location: Fillmore Gazette

Thursday, March 7th, 2024

By Louise Lampara

Executive Director

Ventura County Coalition of Labor Agriculture and Business


California is the proud home to some of the nation’s most productive agricultural regions, producing over 1/3rd of all the fruits and nuts consumed in the United States. Here in Ventura County, we are proud of our standing as a top 10 California agricultural region, distributing our locally-grown produce, fiber, and ornamentals to the nation and the world. But Ventura County’s continued agricultural sustainability is under many threats – and one of the biggest threats is the lack of stable and reliable sources of water.

Ventura County has long been a leader in water conservation efforts to support our Ground Water Sustainability Plan process. In addition, our local water agencies are actively seeking out innovative solutions to improve and expand our water supply. But despite these complementary efforts, Ventura County’s unique geography and water needs mean that our county relies heavily on state water. Disruptions to water deliveries through the Delta have the potential to leave our residents, businesses, and local agricultural producers without enough water for even the minimum health and safety needs. 

Nearly one-third of Southern California’s water supply comes from the Sierra Nevada. This resource provides the backbone water supply for about 27 million people statewide, millions of acres of farmland, Southern California’s $1.6 trillion economy, and our environment. But the current delivery system relies upon aging, undermaintained levees that are vulnerable to climate change, earthquakes, floods, and rising sea levels. 

The Ventura County Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business (VC CoLAB) has long advocated for critical upgrades to California’s water delivery system. As Californians, we understand that it is not “if” a major disaster will occur; it is “when and where.” California must invest in critical improvements to protect the water delivery system that nearly 30 million people and our agricultural producers rely upon – and one of the most critical of these improvements is the Delta Conveyance Project. 

Not only would the Delta Conveyance Project help protect our water supply from climate change, sea level rise, and natural disasters, but the project is also designed to capture water when it is plentiful so it can be moved, stored, and saved for use during periods of drought. If the Delta Conveyance Project had been operational during the rain events of January 2024, the improved State Water Project infrastructure could have transported an additional 220,000 acre-feet of water – enough to supply 2.3 million people for a year – while still meeting environmental, fish, and water quality requirements.

Ventura County’s agricultural producers must have reliable water sources in order to sustain the agricultural production that feeds the nation and the world. With the recent confirmation of the Delta Conveyance Project’s Environmental Impact Report, we urge local water agencies that are part of the project to move forward to support the infrastructure upgrade. The cost of doing nothing is too great.

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Louise Lampara

Louise Lampara currently serves as the Executive Director of CoLab VC, bringing a dynamic blend of leadership, innovation, and community engagement to the forefront of the organization. With a keen eye for strategic development and a passion for fostering collaborative environments, Louise has been instrumental in driving CoLab VC's mission forward.