Lake Piru Water Release Flows in Santa Clara River

In an effort to recharge the aquifer, dilute nitrates and neutralize sea water intrusion issues for Ventura County, United Water Conservation initiated an immense water release from its Santa Felicia Dam at Lake Piru on June 3, 2019. Normally, conserved water is released from Santa Felicia Dam in the fall of each year, but, due to the saturated conditions in the Santa Clara River and its tributaries, water release in June will assure maximum regional benefits. The release of water, the largest amount in decades, will help combat rising nitrate levels such as those recently seen in the El Rio community in May, which forced the shut-down of drinking water wells for 364 residential and business customers of Vineyard Avenue Acres Mutual Water. “This historical release of water at our Santa Felicia Dam will ultimately result in the diversion of high-quality water at our Freeman Diversion facility, helping to recharge the area’s aquifer still recovering from drought and helping to offset the increasing nitrate levels of wells within the immediate vicinity of El Rio. It will also help with sea water intrusion issues we continue seeing on the Oxnard Plain,” explains Mauricio Guardado, General Manager for United Water Conservation District. “The timing of the release is crucial in that we want to take advantage of the high saturation level of the Santa Clara River that exists right now with all of the rain we’ve had. This will allow us to make the most of the water release,” added Guardado. The District serves as the conservator of groundwater resources that are utilized by the cities of Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Ventura, Santa Paula and Fillmore, as well as several mutual water districts, farms and individual pumpers.