A persistent drought in Southern California could lead to a water fee for new construction projects in Ventura. Ventura’s City Council is considering a fee of up to $15,000 per acre-foot for any developers who don’t bring water rights with their projects.
The proposed Water Dedication and In-Lieu Fee would apply to “new or intensified development that requires increased water usage” if sufficient water rights are not transferred. Any funds collected would be earmarked for developing new sources of water.
City officials say new sources of water would cost two to three times as much as current sources. Developers opposed the measure, saying the city’s current water sources can support new development.
According to one developer, water is so plentiful in the area that on a recent project crews hit water seven feet below the surface. By comparison, the average water depth in surrounding communities such as Thousand Oaks is about 200 feet, he said.