This lawsuit began when Santa Barbara Channelkeeper took legal action against the City of Ventura in 2014 to limit the City of Ventura’s use of the Ventura River. The City of Ventura filed a cross-complaint to include other potential users of the Ventura River Watershed. As part of that process, the City of Ventura sent notices to all potentially impacted users of the Ventura River Watershed.
You may have received a notice or summons if you were identified as either the owner of property in one of the Ventura River Watershed’s four groundwater basins or an owner or property abutting the Ventura River or its tributaries, or both. If you received a Notice, you are not a party to the lawsuit unless you file an answer to protect your water rights. If you received a Summons, you are a party, and may wish to file an answer to protect your water rights. For those that have already received a notice packet, the current deadline to respond is January 29, 2021.
What are my Options?
Although each person’s circumstances are unique, and you may wish to consult an attorney, if you have no plans to divert, pump or store surface water or groundwater either now or in the future, you may not need to respond. If you’d like to respond but do not wish to hire an attorney, the Ventura River Watershed Adjudication website also provides court-approved form answers that can be filled out and submitted.
The City of Ojai cannot file a response on behalf of individual property owners, but the City of Ojai is in communication with various parties, including the City of Ventura, Casitas Water District, and others, and is working with those parties to encourage a reasonable solution.
More information can be found on venturariverwatershedadjudication.com.