Open Letter to Ventura City Council on Water Supply Draft Report

By Daniel Cormode 
Ref:        (a) VENTURA WATER SUPPLY PROJECT Draft Environmental Impact Report, SCH 2017111004
(b) STATE WATER INTERCONNECTION PROJECT Draft Environmental Impact Report, SCH 2018031010
Mayor and City Council Members,
1.      The purpose of this email is to advise you of significant deficiencies in two Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) which will be coming before the City Council for review and approval at a future date.  They are specifically the VENTURA WATER SUPPLY PROJECT Draft Environmental Impact Report, SCH 2017111004, reference (a) and the STATE WATER INTERCONNECTION PROJECT Draft Environmental Impact Report, SCH 2018031010, reference (b).
2.      The reference EIRs fail to comply with Section 15131 of the Title 14, California Code of Regulations, Chapter 3, Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act, Article 9 Contents of Environmental Impact Reports, Section 15131 by not addressing the social and economic impact of either adopting or not adopting the estimated $512M proposed project.
3.      The EIR is stated to be an “informational document based on facts”.[1]
4.      The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) specifies California Environmental Impact Reports (EIR) shall include social and economic information. 
a.      Environmental Impact Reports shall contain the information outlined in this article.[2]
b.      Draft EIRs shall contain the information required by Sections 15122 through 15131.  Final EIRs shall contain the same information and the subjects described in Section 15132.[3]
c.      The description of the project shall contain “A general description of the project’s technical, economic, and environmental characteristics, considering the principal engineering proposals if any and supporting public service facilities”.[4]
d.      “Economic or social effects of a project shall not be treated as significant effects on the environment.[5]
e.      Economic or social effects of a project may be used to determine the significance of physical changes caused by the project.[6]
f.       Economic, social, and particularly housing factors shall be considered by public agencies together with technological and environmental factors in deciding whether changes in a project are feasible to reduce or avoid significant effects on the environment.[7]
g.      Despite implication of these sections, CEQA does not focus exclusively on physical changes, and is not exclusively physical in concern.  For example, in Section 21083( c), CEQA requires an agency to determine if a project may have a significant effect on the environment if it will cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly.[8]
5.      The EIRs precludes determination of any social or economic impact since no factual economic, capital, operating or maintenance cost data is provided to support the no impact conclusion.
6.       Implementation of the proposed project will have a social and economic impact by resulting in an increased water supply needed for public health, safety, quality of life and economic development.  Adverse social and economic impacts from Implementation of the proposed project will result in significantly higher water and wastewater rates needed cover increases in capital, operating and maintenance expenses.  Increased water and wastewater rates have a social and economic impact on elderly persons on fixed or little incomes to become homeless, thereby, exacerbating the number of homeless persons, crime and vagrancy Implementation of the proposed project may increase health and safety risks due contamination of the water supply.

7.      Implementation of the no project option will result in the continued water supply shortage     

8.      The City is proposing to implement the Ventura Water Supply Projects (proposed projects) to: protect the ecology of the Santa Clara River Estuary (SCRE); develop additional water supply sources to meet water demands for planned future growth; and enhance supply reliability even in drought years. The whole State Water Interconnect project and associated pipelines are required to: serve as an emergency backup in case of a failure in the Advanced Water Pure Facility; and enable delivery of water from East Ventura to West Ventura to allow in-lieu delivery of State Water to Casitas.  Ventura Water would then not take water from Lake Casitas. “In-lieu delivery means that the SWP would be delivered to a Ventura Water customer in the Casitas service area, rather than directly delivered to Casitas, and this would offset the Ventura Water demand on the Casitas system.”[9] .
9.      The proposed projects would be implemented in two phases. The first phase (Phase 1) would divert tertiary-treated water, which currently flows into the SCRE, to the VenturaWaterPure Project for additional treatment, protecting the ecology of the SCRE and to providing a new potable water supply. The second phase (Phase 2) would provide additional needed water supply if Phase 1 is insufficient to meet the needs of planned growth. Phase 1 is evaluated at a “project level” since its implementation would occur as the priority water supply project. Phase 2 would only be implemented if the amount of recycled water available is less than future potable demands. If Phase 2 is needed to meet future water demands, then additional project-level CEQA review would be required to evaluate its implementation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Detailed analysis: AWPF EIR Comments 2019 04 12

 


[1] Handout, Ventura Water State Water Interconnection Project, Public Meeting Review Draft Environmental Impact Report, Slide 3,Feburary 26, 2019.
[2] Title 14. California Code of Regulations, Chapter 3 Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act, Article 9 Contents of Environmental Impact Reports. Section 15120(a).
[3] Title 14. California Code of Regulations, Chapter 3 Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act, Article 9 Contents of Environmental Impact Reports. Section 15120( c).
[4] Title 14. California Code of Regulations, Chapter 3 Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act, Article 9 Contents of Environmental Impact Reports. Section 15124 (c ).
[5] Title 14. California Code of Regulations, Chapter 3 Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act, Article 9 Contents of Environmental Impact Reports. Section 15131(a)
[6] Title 14. California Code of Regulations, Chapter 3 Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act, Article 9 Contents of Environmental Impact Reports. Section 15131(b)
[7] Title 14. California Code of Regulations, Chapter 3 Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act, Article 9 Contents of Environmental Impact Reports. Section 15131(  c).
[8] Title 14. California Code of Regulations, Chapter 3 Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act, Article 9 Contents of Environmental Impact Reports. Section 15131.
[9]Notice of Availability, State Water Interconnection  (SCH No. 2018031010) Draft Environmental Impact Report dated February 19, 2019

Daniel Cormode is a Ventura resident and the Chairman of the Planning & Development Committee for The East Ventura Community Council. He  has dedicated his life to researching Ventura water issues.


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3 Responses to Open Letter to Ventura City Council on Water Supply Draft Report

  1. William Hicks April 17, 2019 at 9:49 am

    My guess is that IF this hadn’t been a problem that has been consistently kicked down the road, we would have had a more gradual increase in the cost/supply factors.

    Reply
  2. richard April 16, 2019 at 7:29 am

    Well, this leaves me more confused than ever. So if we implement the plan we face increased rates (no surprise there.) I f we don’t we face more water shortages. Gee, what marvelous choices we have. We get gouged forever and ever or we die of thirst. The city council strikes again with their ineffective costly stupid not well thought out plans that ultimately cost us the citizens while the politicians and the idiot Chamber of Commerce fuss about festivals, trashcans, and pouring money into parking garages, film schools and raising taxes to cover their huge retirement gap. Thank you Chief Mike. Now run along and continue making gobs of cash selling McMansions.

    Reply
    • Michael April 17, 2019 at 11:45 am

      Thank you Richard.
      My thoughts exactly..

      Reply

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