Santa Paula Groundwater Basin Facts

Sp-Basin-PicThe Santa Paula Basin easterly boundary is on the east side of Santa Paula Creek and extends to the west to a point very close to Kimball Road in Ventura, to the south of the Santa Clara River, and north into the Canyons, as reflected on the map to the right:
  • Groundwater Rights were adjudicated in 1996. The Judgment awarded 27,500 acre-feet of groundwater rights to the Santa Paula Basin Pumpers Association to be held in trust for the benefit of its members, with each of its members entitled to extract a set quantity declared in the Judgment as “Individual Party Allocation (IPA).” The groundwater rights were declared after approximately 5 years of study of the basin’s potential yield during the litigation process.
  • The City of Ventura was granted 3,000 acre-feet of pumping allocation as they serve Saticoy in the East Ventura area.
  • Primarily though water use efficiency improvements, most, if not all, agricultural users in the basin are using less water than the base period for water allocations set forth in the Judgment of 1981 through 1990.
  • A 2003 Basin yield study conducted by technical experts from the United Water Conservation District, City of Ventura and the Santa Paula Basin Pumpers Association concluded the basin was in balance.
  • Currently additional studies and reports are underway evaluating hydrologic changes that have occurred since the 2003 yield study.
  • Technical experts concluded in the 2003 yield study that the eastern end of the Basin where the City of Santa Paula pumps recharges rapidly each year with water entering from the Fillmore Basin, Santa Paula Creek and the Santa Clara River.
  • Water levels in the western end of the Basin have reflected declines as that area is not as radially recharged as the eastern end of the Basin where the City of Santa Paula Pumps.
  • Rainfall cycles impact water levels as pumping varies through the wet and dry cycles to meet the water demand.
  • Water levels dropped to historical lows in 1990 at the end of a dry period and Basin water levels have largely recovered from that low period and pumps weren’t lowered.
  • Limoneira Company has IPA set aside for the purpose of transferring to the City to offset all water used in East Area I and II so the City will not have to rely on their reserves.
  • East Area I partially overlies the Fillmore Groundwater Basin and the City has been granted un-adjudicated allocation from the Fillmore Basin management group for the proportionate amount of land overlying the Fillmore Basin.
  • Moving water from the east to the west in existing systems will assist in better managing water levels in the Basin by relieving production on the west end of the Basin and dewatering the east end of the Basin where water levels are high and could receive additional replenishment if water levels were moderately lower.
  • Existing water system pipeline delivery improvements will assist in moving high quality surplus water from the Santa Paula Creek to Basin users to further assist groundwater management improvements.
  • Santa Paula City Ordinance 52.021 provides that the owner or developer of any parcel of land located within or being annexed to the City of Santa Paula shall dedicate their water rights to the City.
  • Current annual use of groundwater within the boundary of EA II for current agricultural use is approximately 175 acre-feet or 57 million gallons per year. Considering projected water demand for the developed land of approximately 20 million gallons per year, there will be a 65% reduction in water use when the property converts to the planned uses. Thus, with respect to water resource sustainability, the proposed EA II project will reduce demand for water from this property and from the Basin.