These FAQs provide information regarding the Notice of Adjudication and Form Answer you may have received. These FAQS are not intended to provide legal advice; those seeking legal advice should consult their own attorney.
What is this lawsuit about?
This lawsuit is a comprehensive adjudication of the Oxnard and Pleasant Valley Groundwater Basins within Ventura county. The adjudication was brought by a group of landowners who are all members of the OPV Coalition and who own land overlying the basins. Through the adjudication, the OPV Coalition seeks a fair allocation of rights to use groundwater and court-supervised management of the basins.
What is a groundwater adjudication?
A groundwater basin adjudication is a type of lawsuit in which the court defines and determines groundwater rights (i.e., the amount of cumulative and individual allowed groundwater use), and often implements a court-supervised groundwater management plan. California courts have previously adjudicated approximately 28 groundwater basins. There are an additional five adjudications pending in the state including the adjudication of the basins and the adjudication of the neighboring Las Posas Basin. More information can be found on the California Division of Water Resources Website. The lawsuit does not seek to determine rights to municipal water service between any municipal water service provider and their retail water service customers. The City of Oxnard, City of Ventura, Camrosa Water District, Port Hueneme Water Agency and Channel Islands Beach Community Services District are already parties to the case. For more information regarding the OPV Groundwater Adjudication, please review the Complaint included in your notice packet and available here.
Why did I get a notice packet for the adjudication?
You may have received a notice packet because you own land overlying the Oxnard or Pleasant Valley groundwater basins or because you pump groundwater from those basins. California law requires notification of everyone owning land overlying the basins regardless of whether they are currently extracting groundwater. Properties within the basins were identified with information from the Ventura County Assessor’s Office, as required under California Code of Civil Procedure section 836(d)(1)(A). You may also have received a notice packet because records show that you have extracted groundwater from one or both basins, or because you belong to a certain category of people requiring notification under California law. These categories include: the operator of a public water system or state small water system that uses groundwater from the basin to supply water service; a California Native American tribe that is on the contact list maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission; a person who is on a list, maintained by a groundwater management agency, of interested parties that have requested notice under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act; and persons reporting extractions of groundwater within the basins under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
What happens if I want to participate?
To join the lawsuit, you must file the Form Answer supplied in your notice packet or available here with the Superior Court of Santa Barbara County and send a copy of the answer that you file with the Court to Plaintiffs’ counsel. Information concerning the Santa Barbara Superior Court is available here. When you become a party to the lawsuit, you should be prepared to participate fully, which includes being able to present information about your past and current groundwater use. If you are unsure about whether you need to participate, you should consult an attorney.
What happens if I don’t participate?
It is not mandatory that you join the lawsuit, but if you choose not to join the lawsuit, any rights you may have to extract or use groundwater from the Oxnard or Pleasant Valley groundwater basins could be adversely affected. Please note that the lawsuit does not seek to determine rights to municipal water service between any municipal water service provider and their retail water service customers. If you are unsure about what impact this adjudication may have on your own individual circumstances, you should consult an attorney. If you own agricultural land overlying one or both of the basins and are interested in joining the OPV Coalition, please contact us.