General manager Robert Eranio told the Crestview board on October 28, 2021 that he expects a State mandated ban on outdoor water use to take effect December 1, 2021 and actual shortages of imported water deliveries by February or March 2022. Several cities in Ventura County have already implemented use restrictions. The Crestview board will undoubtedly have to make decisions about this before year end.
On the positive side, if Crestview customers reduce consumption by just 20%, Crestview could supply our whole system just by pumping all the groundwater that we are permitted to pump by Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency.
Unfortunately, we are—at least temporarily—without adequate pumping capacity to take all the groundwater to which we are entitled. Indeed, the 2022 budget proposal before the Crestview board assumes purchases of Calleguas water will be larger than Crestview has ever purchased before—556 acre-feet in 2022 vs. the previous high of 372 acre-feet in 2001. We are in this pickle because Well #4 had to be shut down in August 2021 due to a falling water table and broken equipment. Mr. Eranio reported at the October 28 board meeting that he is proceeding urgently to lower the pump in Well #4 and bring it back on line. Expect a post about that in the near future. As to the controversial and long delayed Well #7 project, it would not have been installed and available now unless it had gotten all its permits two years ago.
Crestview water comes both from our own wells in the service area and from the State Water Project (“SWP”) which moves northern California water to us via the California Aqueduct. This water goes initially to 29 contractors including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (“MWD”), which delivers the water to other agencies including Calleguas Municipal Water District. Crestview gets all its imported water from Calleguas.
In dry years, the State Water Project delivers less water than the contractors request. In 2021, contractors are receiving only 5% of their requests. In 2022, MWD expects to receive no water at all from SWP! At its November 3, 2021, the MWD board will consider a resolution calling for Member Agencies, including Calleguas, to implement mandatory water conservation measures. There are intense negotiations among the agencies about whether all will have the same percentage reductions in deliveries, or if MWD will cut back those agencies like Calleguas and Crestview that have local water sources more than those that are totally dependent on imported water.
However this plays out, it is expected that Crestview will be required to implement a mandatory ban on outdoor use of water.
It is infuriating that Well #4 reconditioning was not taken more seriously at an earlier date. Instead, money was spent on a report that concluded the well could not be drilled deeper. Now we are told we will not get a formal report on what it will take to recondition the well, but the board allows Mr. Eranio to handle the review of this issue in a most informal way. No specific scope of work was approved, Mr. Eranio will “consult” with Curtis Hopkins, and Mr. Eranio will work with two pumpers to get bids for reconditioning and fixing the air line which broke. What are we to surmise from the lack of formal action on this very important project? Where is the transparency so frequently touted by the President of the board?