In January 2014, Governor Brown declared a drought emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. His declaration emphasized the use of recycled water when possible. Ventura Water was already utilizing recycled water for landscape maintenance around the city–but how could that water be utilized by larger industrial customers?
Enter Aera Energy, an oil and gas producer on Ventura’s west side with a willingness to do their part and use less water in their daily business.
While Aera’s oil operations utilize very little potable water, the company uses water on its roads as a dust control measure in compliance with local and state air quality regulations. Aera approached Ventura Water and asked, “What if recycled water could be used for dust control and effectively reduce our potable water usage by up to 30 percent?” Although the existing state permit did not allow recycled water to be transported or used for dust control, Ventura Water embarked on a two year process through the State Water Resources Board and the Regional Water Quality Board to update it.
In June 2016 Ventura Water received approval for the permit and officially launched its Recycled Water Mobile Reuse Program. The updated permit allows industrial users like Aera to transport and utilize recycled water for dust suppression. Since July 2016, Aera fills a 4,300 gallon vacuum truck several times a day and has already transported more than 1 million gallons of recycled water. The company continues to meet air quality mandates but now in an even more conservation-minded manner with recycled water. Aera’s efforts have already saved enough water for more than 333,333 toilet flushes or 27,777 baths!
“We had already significantly reduced water usage over the last 12 years. Now we are going further by using recycled water and decreasing our potable water usage even more. This is part of our commitment to protecting people and the environment,” explained Michele Newell, Public Affairs Specialist for Aera. “It’s important for us to partner with the community to find workable solutions to community issues. Ventura Water has been a great partner in this effort.”
“Our partnership with Aera Energy reflects the City of Ventura’s adaptability and willingness to collaborate and implement sustainable solutions for the drought and beyond,” said Mark Watkins, City Manager of the City of Ventura.
Thanks to Aera’s question about extending recycled water use, Ventura residents now also have the opportunity to save water utilizing recycled water through the Residential Recycled Water Mobile Reuse Program.
After a free 45-minute training session and a $75 annual permit fee, residents may fill up to 300 gallons of recycled water per trip. Recycled water is an ideal substitute for landscape irrigation as it contains many of the same minerals found in fertilizers. The recycled water is good for your plants and can be used to water fruit trees, vegetables, and herbs. As always remember to wash edibles with drinking water before consumption. For more information, visit www.venturawater.net or call Customer Care at 805-667-6500.