I took a break from the law practice today to enjoy how green everything had become on our ranches here in Ventura County. For my husband and I, and my agricultural clients, the business of agriculture is 24/7. With freezing temperatures expected on several nights recently, there was yet another round of late night and early morning freeze patrol. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, irrigating during very cold nights can help counteract freezing conditions. The water is warmer than the cold air which raises temperatures at critical points to prevent frost damage.
Despite contending with freezing temperatures , I am happy to report that with the current rainfall, Ventura County had been downgraded from a “moderate drought” rating to “abnormally dry”. While this trend is encouraging, United Water Conservation District officials report that even though Lake Piru’s water level has doubled over the last two months, rising more than 30 feet, it is still only 39% full. It would take an additional 180,000 acre feet of water to bring the lake to full capacity. Ventura County District officials state that in order to get completely out of drought conditions, the county will need 10 more storms similar to those that occurred during the first two months of this year.
Even with increased rainfall, water rights for those in agriculture continue to be challenging at best. Farmers and ranchers must navigate a myriad of state, local, and private water rights issues.
But all of that aside, it is nice to take a Saturday to stop and enjoy how green everything has become.