SOAR and Water
It is safe to say that without the passage of the SOAR initiatives 20 years ago, there would be much less agriculture and open space in Ventura County today. As our water crisis intensifies, SOAR has played an important role in keeping our water options open. Paving over less land means more water percolates into our groundwater basins. Ventura County has some of the most valuable groundwater basins in the world. Ensuring they recharge regularly is essential to their sustainability.
Areas that no longer have agriculture have less variability in their demand for water. Once an area is urbanized, its water demand is much less flexible. While urban areas must become even more water efficient, once those efficiencies are in place flexibility of demand is low. When rainfall is low for a number of years, agriculture can switch from high water demand crops to lower water demand crops more easily than an urbanized area can further reduce demand.
Ventura County has some of the most variable rainfall patterns in the world. This variability in supply of water means we must be able to flex our demand for water as rainfall patterns vary. Relative to our neighboring Southern California coastal counties, SOAR has improved our ability to do this.