As a water resources company with many of its team based in Ojai California during the start of the Ojai Thomas Fire, it was shocking to read a report by Ventura County Fire Capt. Steve Kaufmann that stated “At one point in Ojai, the entire water system went down, including hydrants and drinking water, because a pumping system was damaged by the fire”. This comes less that 24 hours after the start of the fire near Santa Paula that has already scorched over 45,000 acres, is 0% contained and has evacuations of over 27,000 locals.
This natural disaster happening in our hometown poignantly highlights the need to address our local water crisis and infrastructure issues. The Primary Water Resources (PWR) team has been working for over a year to expand the Ojai Valley and Ventura County water resources. Efforts include proposals to help refill Lake Casitas with available groundwater as well as expanded well water access for local agriculture and businesses such as the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.
Currently Lake Casitas water levels are at an alarming low of 35.3%  further highlighting the need for additional water resources in the Ojai Valley and for Ventura County at large.
As PWR brings more water wells and other water solutions online it will help mitigate water supply risks posed by natural disasters. As an example during the fire, crews would have access to any of our water wells throughout the valley giving far greater ability to respond quickly and effectively. How much of the devastation could be prevented by having more water resources and needed infrastructure in the area?
We have also heard rumors that Lake Casitas is contaminated and reports that other Ventura Country water sources have been contaminated during the fire. The Ventura Water (City of Ventura) Facebook page suggests boiling water until further notice.
To learn more about Primary Water Resources efforts to supply Ventura Country with more water solutions
contact our team at 805-751-9920
Photos courtesy of Dr. Dre Neal
1. Jaclyn Cosgrove, Ruben Vives, Laura J. Nelson, Sonali Kohli and Sonali Kohli. ”Ventura wildfire rages over 45,500 acres, destroys more than 150 structures; 27,000 flee” Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-school-fire-20171204-story.html. Accessed 5 December 2017.
2.”Lake Level” Casitas Municipal Water District, https://www.casitaswater.org/lower.php?url=lake-level. Accessed 5 December 2017.