Groundwater – the fresh water that fills and moves between the voids in rocks, silt and other material in aquifers – has sustained the local agricultural community for nearly two centuries. Beginning in the 1800s, wells were drilled into the aquifers to access this water for irrigation.
As the area grew, years of increased pumping caused water levels in the aquifer to drop below sea level, resulting in saltwater intrusion into those invaluable aquifers. This salty, brackish water contaminated the groundwater and made it unsuitable for agriculture or municipal uses.
Saltwater intrusion primarily affects a 23-square-mile area of the Oxnard aquifer from Point Mugu north to the Santa Clara River, referred to as the Oxnard Forebay. UWCD is focused on combatting this problem.
While the region receives annual rainfall of 5 to 45 inches, it is often not enough to replace the almost 200,000 acre-feet of water pumped from area wells each year. United adds a significant amount of high-quality water each year to underground aquifers (the amount dependent on local rainfall) to ensure adequate supplies during dry periods.