Freeman Diversion Fish Screen

PROTECT – CONSERVE – COLLABORATE

Governed by a seven-member Board of Directors, United Water Conservation District manages, protects, conserves and enhances the region’s water supply. Through careful monitoring and management, we maintain the water resources of the Santa Clara River, its tributaries and associated aquifers, in an environmentally balanced manner.

Situated in central Ventura County, California, the District encompasses the fertile Santa Clara River Valley and Oxnard Coastal Plain, a 214,000-acre area that typically receives from 12 to 20 inches of rainfall each year.

DISTRICT MAP

At United, we are dedicated to thinking outside the box and forming unique partnerships to ensure the local water system is sustainable for years to come. We are committed to conserving existing water supplies, securing new resources and managing water sources through groundwater replenishment and the construction and operation of efficient supply and delivery systems.

United conserves runoff from all major tributaries of the Santa Clara River within the District, including Piru, Hopper, Sespe, and Santa Paula Creeks. Without these efforts, much of this water would simply flow out to sea. Through monitoring and innovative, responsible best practices, we are able to replenish area aquifers with nearly 100,000 acre-feet of water in an average year – enough to provide close to 200,000 families with water for one year.

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

United Water Conservation District is funded primarily through groundwater pumping charges, property taxes, and water delivery charges. With development, as well as maintenance and operational expenses, United manages an annual budget of about $40 million. Cooperative programs with other agencies help maximize the use of District resources and promote mutually beneficial projects. United is an active participant in the community it serves and has a strong commitment to county, state and national water issues.

We are committed to financial transparency, accountability and open communication. Our financial reports are available as part of our Transparency page.

TRANSPARENCY

HISTORY

Originally formed as the Santa Clara Water Conservation District in 1927, voters approved the formation of United Water Conservation District in 1950. From the beginning, United has distinguished itself as a leader among water agencies by conserving and enhancing water resources of the Santa Clara River while working to protect the river’s natural features.

Over the years, United has constructed numerous facilities, pipelines, and recharge basins – including the Santa Felicia Dam, Lake Piru Reservoir and Freeman Diversion – to enhance the local water system and maintain sustainable water management.

Today, we continue to serve as the conservator of groundwater resources that are utilized by the cities of Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Ventura, Santa Paula, and Fillmore, as well as Naval Base Ventura County and several mutual water districts, farms and individual pumpers. We also provide surface water for agricultural irrigation and treated drinking water to the cities of Oxnard and Port Hueneme.

Saticoy Recharge Basin

Preloader
  • 1860

    Early settlers began farming the Oxnard Plain.

  • 1925

    Santa Clara River Protective Association (SCRPA) formed to retain control of Santa Clara River water resources.

  • 1928

    SCWCD recharged 360,000 acre-feet of groundwater over the next 25 years.

  • 1930’s

    High chloride levels were detected in groundwater beneath the Oxnard Plain, around the Hueneme and Magu submarine canyons.

  • 1940’s

    Santa Clara WCD realizes it lacks the ability to raise money to build the facilities needed to combat expanding seawater intrusion in the Oxnard Plain.

  • 1950

    Landward migration of seawater in the Oxnard Aquifer Zone first detected near Port Hueneme. By 1963, 42 wells near Port Hueneme and two near Point Mugu removed from service due to seawater intrusion.

  • 1950

    Voters approve the formation of the United Water Conservation District (UWCD).

  • 1953

    SCWCD dissolves, transferring its assets to UWCD.

  • 1954

    Construction begins on the Santa Felicia Dam, creating the Lake Piru Reservoir, with a current storage capacity of 82,000 acre-feet of water.

  • 1954-1956

    The improved Saticoy Diversion and groundwater recharge facility constructed. El Rio groundwater recharge facility well field and the Oxnard-Hueneme pipeline constructed.

  • 1959

    Pleasant Valley Pipeline and Reservoir constructed, currently providing 200 acre-feet total of water storage capacity.

  • 1986

    Pumping Trough Pipeline built to reduce groundwater pumping and seawater intrusion.

  • 1991

    Freeman Diversion built to capture stormwater and enhance groundwater recharge. Since its construction, the Freeman has diverted 1.7 million acre-feet of water.

  • 1996

    Acquired Noble Basin property, providing 140 acres of additional recharge grounds.

  • 1997

    Southern California Steelhead listed as Endangered Species.

  • 2009

    Acquired Ferro and Rose properties for necessary future recharge projects, bringing UWCD’s total potential recharge to approximately 700 acres (Piru, Saticoy, Noble, Ferro, Rose and El Rio).

  • 2013

    Begin Freeman Diversion Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan process.

  • 2016

    UWCD adopts aggressive Water Supply Sustainability Plan, propelling the District’s innovative leadership in delivery of long-term solutions for reliable water service.

WHAT IS A CALIFORNIA SPECIAL DISTRICT?

Special districts are local government agencies that provide essential services to millions of Californians. These districts are formed and governed by local residents to establish or enhance essential services and infrastructure in their communities. Each special district focuses on providing specific types of services. It is this focused service that allows for innovation and long-term planning to meet the community’s needs.

There are approximately 2,300 independent special districts in California, meaning they are governed by an independent board of directors elected by the districts’ voters or appointed to a fixed term of office by either the city council or board of supervisors. Dependent districts are governed by other existing legislative bodies like a city councilor board of supervisors. Larger independent districts have a professional manager, similar to a city manager or county administrator, to assist the governing officials. The governing boards adopt policies that the general managers carry out.

Just over a quarter of California’s independent special districts are enterprise districts. Enterprise districts operate more like a business enterprise, charging customers for their services. For example, a hospital district charges room fees just to their patients, not the district’s other residents. Water districts charge water rates to their customers. Virtually all water, waste and hospital districts are enterprise districts.

Special districts are primarily accountable to the voters who elect their boards of directors and the customers who use their services. However, although they are not functions of the state, the state also provides critical oversight to special district operations. Special districts must submit annual financial reports to the state and must also follow state laws pertaining to public meetings, bonded debt, record keeping and elections.

To learn more, please visit districtsmakethedifference.org.

California Special Districts Association Mapping Program

Please click here for the California Special Districts Association Mapping Program.

FACILITIES & STRATEGIES

United Water Conservation District works to maximize the water resources of the Santa Clara Valley and Oxnard Plain, utilizing the surface flow of the Santa Clara River and its tributaries for replenishment of groundwater. Enough water to supply the City of Oxnard for the next 100 years (more than 3 million acre-feet) has been reintroduced to the aquifers via this system.

Many strategies and facilities have been developed over the years to meet regional water demands while aiming to reverse groundwater overdraft and seawater intrusion into coastal aquifers, as well as meet the increased need to provide water for environmental purposes.

View Facilities Map

Santa Felicia Dam

The Santa Felicia Dam, constructed in 1955, was the first dam built solely to recharge groundwater.

Lake Piru

Lake Piru Recreation Area was created by the Santa Felicia Dam and holds approximately 82,000 acre-feet of winter run-off while providing year-round camping, boating, fishing and other outdoor recreational opportunities to visitors.

Freeman Diversion

The Freeman Diversion, constructed in 1991, replenishes approximately 58,000 acre-feet of stream flow to the underground water supply each year. A fish ladder was built into the Diversion to allow for the annual migration of steelhead trout.

Recharge Basins

The Piru, Saticoy, El Rio and Noble recharge basins facilitate a natural percolation process, allowing water from the Freeman Diversion to seep through layers of sand and gravel in an area known as the Oxnard Forebay to replenish the underground supply.

Pumping Trough Pipeline and Pleasant Valley Pipeline

The Pumping Trough Pipeline and the Pleasant Valley Pipeline and Reservoirs deliver surface water directly from the Santa Clara River to agriculture on the Oxnard Plain and Pleasant Valley to reduce pumping in the overdrafted lower aquifer system.

Oxnard Hueneme Pipeline

The Oxnard Hueneme Pipeline provides drinking water to the City of Oxnard, the Port Hueneme Water Agency and a number of mutual water companies. This avoids the necessity for local pumping near the coast where wells are most vulnerable to seawater intrusion.

PUMPERS

From as far back as the mid-1800s, farmers have been pumping water from private wells in the Santa Clara River valley and Oxnard plain. Over the past century, as the wells became deeper, the water demand grew higher and overdraft began to occur. “Overdraft” means that more water is being taken out of the aquifers than is replaced by groundwater recharge. Overdraft can result in poor water quality, increased pump lifts and seawater intrusion. United has constructed and operated various facilities to help address this issue over the years.

WELL REGISTRATION

California State Water Code requires all water wells within the boundaries of United Water Conservation District to be registered with both the District and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).

Wells are registered with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). The Ventura County Watershed Protection District issues permits on behalf of DWR. In addition, groundwater production statements from each well are filed by the pumper on a semi-annual basis with the SWRCB. With this information, United is able to maintain records of water usage throughout the District.

Pumping of all individual water wells within the District must be reported to United. This requirement helps maintain accurate water usage figures. An extensive network of monitoring wells is used to measure water levels and test water quality throughout the District.
Funds generated by pump charges are used to operate projects within the District that benefit the entire region.

View Our District Policy

STAFF

Mauricio E. Guardado, Jr.
General Manager

Since joining the District in 2015, Mr. Guardado has focused on building cooperative relationships with neighboring agencies and stakeholders to affect change and find solutions to the region’s water challenges. He has taken the lead in diversifying and maximizing supply, pursuing sustainable projects and prioritizing stewardship in Ventura County. Prior to joining the District, Mr. Guardado served in management positions at other Southern California water agencies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from California State University, Northridge and a master’s degree from USC’s Executive Master of Leadership Program and is a registered civil engineer in the state of California.

Administrative Services

The Administrative Services Department is responsible for finance, human resources, information technology, risk management, the Lake Piru Recreation Area, and general administration of the District. The Finance Division is responsible for all financial matters and activities for the District including accounting, budgeting, accounts receivable and payable, investments, payroll, financial analysis, and financial reporting. The Administrative Division oversees the management of the administrative office and staff, Board of Directors meetings, UWCD Committee meetings, information technology, human resources, and risk management. The Recreation Division is responsible for the management of the Lake Piru Recreation Area including camping, boating and day-use activities as well as providing oversight of the recreation concessionaire contract. Contact:

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION

Anthony Emmert
Assistant General Manager

Josh Perez
Human Resources Manager

Tony Huynh
Safety and Security Program Coordinator

Eva Ibarra
Administrative Assistant II

Ofelia Leon
Human Resources Specialist

Jackie Lozano
Administrative Assistant II

Zachary Plummer
IT Administrator

Destiny Rubio
Administrative Assistant I

Kris Sofley
Executive Administrative Coordinator/Clerk of the Board

FINANCE DIVISION

Joseph Jereb
Chief Financial Officer

Erin Gorospe
Controller

Karina Calderon
Accountant I

Sara Johnston
Accountant I

David Rivera
Accountant I

Ambry Tibay
Senior Accountant

Steve Trocino
Accountant III

Engineering

The Engineering Department provides a range of services, including concept development, planning, engineering design, surveying, project management, and construction management and inspection. The Engineering Department is responsible for long-range planning and implementation of future UWCD facilities. The Engineering Department works closely with Water Resources to assess and enhance existing and future water resources. The Department is responsible for technical monitoring of existing infrastructure, right-of-way administration, and general technical assistance to the Operations and Maintenance, Recreation, Environmental Services, and Finance departments. Contact:

Maryam Bral, Ph.D, PE
Chief Engineer and Water Resources Leader

Craig Morgan, PE
Senior Engineer

Robert Richardson, PE
Senior Engineer

Michel Kadah, PE, QSD/QSP
Engineer

Adrian Quiroz, PE
Associate Engineer

Erik Zvirbulis
GIS Analyst

“Please email inquiries regarding Utility Relocation to Utilityinfo@unitedwater.org

Environmental

The Environmental Services Department is responsible for ensuring that United is in compliance with various environmental laws including the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Clean Water Act, and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Among other tasks, the department manages compliance with the environmental requirements of United’s license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), development and implementation of United’s habitat conservation plan (HCP), and operations of the fish passage facilities at the Freeman Diversion. The department also conducts monitoring and studies of biological and physical conditions in support of United’s various permits and licenses. Contact:

Evan Lashly
Environmental Scientist

Tessa Lenz
Associate Environmental Scientist

Randall McInvale
Associate Environmental Scientist

Linda Purpus
Environmental Services Manager

Cherie Windsor
Field Technician

Water Resources

The Water Resources Department is responsible for providing hydrogeological expertise to assist the District in managing groundwater resources. The department performs water level measurements and water quality sampling and analysis on hundreds of wells each year, maintains and updates the regional groundwater flow model, performs field investigations to improve the District’s understanding of the controls on groundwater flow, evaluates the impacts of groundwater utilization and conservation options on resource availability and serves as an in-house resource on groundwater supply, water quality, and water resource management. Contact:

GROUNDWATER

Dan Detmer, PG, CHG
Supervising Hydrogeologist

Eric Elliott
Associate Hydrogeologist

Kathleen Kuepper, PG
Hydrogeologist

John Lindquist, PG, CHG
Senior Hydrogeologist

GROUNDWATER MODELING

Zachary Hanson, PhD
Hydrogeologist

Jason Sun, PhD, PE
Senior Hydrogeologist/Modeler

HYDROLOGY

Murray McEachron
Principal Hydrologist

Bram Sercu, PhD
Senior Hydrologist

FIELD TECHNICIAN

Robert Marshall
Water Resources Technician

Operations and Maintenance

The Operations and Maintenance Department is responsible for operating and maintaining the District’s water resource facilities including Lake Piru’s water system, the Santa Felicia Dam and Hydro Plant, the Piru Diversion and Recharge Grounds, the Freeman Diversion, the Saticoy and El Rio Recharge Basins, the Oxnard Hueneme Drinking Water System, the PTP Agricultural Irrigation System, the Pleasant Valley Pipeline and the Saticoy Groundwater Storage Management Project. Contact:

EL RIO

Adrian Aguayo
Facilities Maintenance Worker II

Robert Barone
Supervising Instrument and Electrical Technician

Andy Camposagrado
Instrument & Electrical Technician

John Carman
O&M Program Supervisor

Randy Castaneda
Chief Water Treatment Operator

Brian Collins
O&M Manager

Ruben Sanchez
Water Treatment Operator III

Mike Kaminski
Water Treatment Operator II

Steven Kadowaki
Water Treatment Operator II

SATICOY

Peter Cervantez
Recharge O&M Worker II

Chris Hendricks
Senior Water Treatment Operator

Kelly Johnson
Lead Recharge O&M Worker

Jeffrey N. Lowe
Recharge O&M Worker II

Genaro Rios
Facilities Maintenance Worker II

Bryan Schaffer
Recharge O&M Worker I

SANTA FELICIA DAM

Raymond Avila, Jr.
Recharge O&M Worker I

Greg DeJarnette
Santa Felicia Dam Operator

Julian Meraz
Facilities Maintenance Worker II

PARKS AND RECREATION

Danny Helton
Park Ranger Cadet

Clayton Strahan
Chief Park Ranger

Kurt White
Park Ranger

Peter Witman
Park Ranger Cadet

Freeman Diversion Cresting

STAFF

Mauricio E. Guardado, Jr.
General Manager

Since joining the District in 2015, Mr. Guardado has focused on building cooperative relationships with neighboring agencies and stakeholders to affect change and find solutions to the region’s water challenges. He has taken the lead in diversifying and maximizing supply, pursuing sustainable projects and prioritizing stewardship in Ventura County. Prior to joining the District, Mr. Guardado served in management positions at other Southern California water agencies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from California State University, Northridge and a master’s degree from USC’s Executive Master of Leadership Program and is a registered civil engineer in the state of California.

Administrative Services

The Administrative Services Department is responsible for finance, human resources, information technology, risk management, the Lake Piru Recreation Area, and general administration of the District. The Finance Division is responsible for all financial matters and activities for the District including accounting, budgeting, accounts receivable and payable, investments, payroll, financial analysis, and financial reporting. The Administrative Division oversees the management of the administrative office and staff, Board of Directors meetings, UWCD Committee meetings, information technology, human resources, and risk management. The Recreation Division is responsible for the management of the Lake Piru Recreation Area including camping, boating and day-use activities as well as providing oversight of the recreation concessionaire contract. Contact:

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION

Anthony Emmert
Assistant General Manager

Josh Perez
Human Resources Manager

Tony Huynh
Safety and Security Program Coordinator

Eva Ibarra
Administrative Assistant II

Ofelia Leon
Human Resources Specialist

Jackie Lozano
Administrative Assistant II

Zachary Plummer
IT Administrator

Destiny Rubio
Administrative Assistant I

Kris Sofley
Executive Administrative Coordinator/Clerk of the Board

FINANCE DIVISION

Joseph Jereb
Chief Financial Officer

Erin Gorospe
Controller

Karina Calderon
Accountant I

Sara Johnston
Accountant I

David Rivera
Accountant I

Ambry Tibay
Senior Accountant

Steve Trocino
Accountant III

Engineering

The Engineering Department provides a range of services, including concept development, planning, engineering design, surveying, project management, and construction management and inspection. The Engineering Department is responsible for long-range planning and implementation of future UWCD facilities. The Engineering Department works closely with Water Resources to assess and enhance existing and future water resources. The Department is responsible for technical monitoring of existing infrastructure, right-of-way administration, and general technical assistance to the Operations and Maintenance, Recreation, Environmental Services, and Finance departments. Contact:

Maryam Bral, Ph.D, PE
Chief Engineer and Water Resources Leader

Craig Morgan, PE
Senior Engineer

Robert Richardson, PE
Senior Engineer

Michel Kadah, PE, QSD/QSP
Engineer

Adrian Quiroz, PE
Associate Engineer

Erik Zvirbulis
GIS Analyst

“Please email inquiries regarding Utility Relocation to Utilityinfo@unitedwater.org

Environmental

The Environmental Services Department is responsible for ensuring that United is in compliance with various environmental laws including the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Clean Water Act, and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Among other tasks, the department manages compliance with the environmental requirements of United’s license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), development and implementation of United’s habitat conservation plan (HCP), and operations of the fish passage facilities at the Freeman Diversion. The department also conducts monitoring and studies of biological and physical conditions in support of United’s various permits and licenses. Contact:

Evan Lashly
Environmental Scientist

Tessa Lenz
Associate Environmental Scientist

Randall McInvale
Associate Environmental Scientist

Linda Purpus
Environmental Services Manager

Cherie Windsor
Field Technician

Water Resources

The Water Resources Department is responsible for providing hydrogeological expertise to assist the District in managing groundwater resources. The department performs water level measurements and water quality sampling and analysis on hundreds of wells each year, maintains and updates the regional groundwater flow model, performs field investigations to improve the District’s understanding of the controls on groundwater flow, evaluates the impacts of groundwater utilization and conservation options on resource availability and serves as an in-house resource on groundwater supply, water quality, and water resource management. Contact:

GROUNDWATER

Dan Detmer, PG, CHG
Supervising Hydrogeologist

Eric Elliott
Associate Hydrogeologist

Kathleen Kuepper, PG
Hydrogeologist

John Lindquist, PG, CHG
Senior Hydrogeologist

GROUNDWATER MODELING

Zachary Hanson, PhD
Hydrogeologist

Jason Sun, PhD, PE
Senior Hydrogeologist/Modeler

HYDROLOGY

Murray McEachron
Principal Hydrologist

Bram Sercu, PhD
Senior Hydrologist

FIELD TECHNICIAN

Robert Marshall
Water Resources Technician

Operations and Maintenance

The Operations and Maintenance Department is responsible for operating and maintaining the District’s water resource facilities including Lake Piru’s water system, the Santa Felicia Dam and Hydro Plant, the Piru Diversion and Recharge Grounds, the Freeman Diversion, the Saticoy and El Rio Recharge Basins, the Oxnard Hueneme Drinking Water System, the PTP Agricultural Irrigation System, the Pleasant Valley Pipeline and the Saticoy Groundwater Storage Management Project. Contact:

EL RIO

Adrian Aguayo
Facilities Maintenance Worker II

Robert Barone
Supervising Instrument and Electrical Technician

Andy Camposagrado
Instrument & Electrical Technician

John Carman
O&M Program Supervisor

Randy Castaneda
Chief Water Treatment Operator

Brian Collins
O&M Manager

Ruben Sanchez
Water Treatment Operator III

Mike Kaminski
Water Treatment Operator II

Steven Kadowaki
Water Treatment Operator II

SATICOY

Peter Cervantez
Recharge O&M Worker II

Chris Hendricks
Senior Water Treatment Operator

Kelly Johnson
Lead Recharge O&M Worker

Jeffrey N. Lowe
Recharge O&M Worker II

Genaro Rios
Facilities Maintenance Worker II

Bryan Schaffer
Recharge O&M Worker I

SANTA FELICIA DAM

Raymond Avila, Jr.
Recharge O&M Worker I

Greg DeJarnette
Santa Felicia Dam Operator

Julian Meraz
Facilities Maintenance Worker II

PARKS AND RECREATION

Danny Helton
Park Ranger Cadet

Clayton Strahan
Chief Park Ranger

Kurt White
Park Ranger

Peter Witman
Park Ranger Cadet

Freeman Diversion Cresting

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