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Ventura County

Town Hall meeting tonight over water wars

A years-long lawsuit over water usage in the Ojai Valley now involves thousands of property owners. (Photo: The Happy Valley Foundation)

OJAI VALLEY, Calif. - A special town hall meeting will be held Tuesday night to address a years-long lawsuit over water usage in the Ojai Valley.

Water experts tell our newsroom that the matter is layered and highly complicated -- and controversial -- and centers on water from the Ventura River.

The lawsuit involves the City of Ventura, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, Ojai
Valley landowners and people who pump water in the region.

Some call the situation a "political water grab." A number of residents in the Ojai area and nearby Oak View say they are "very concerned" and believe many people are unaware of the legal wrangling over the water the area depends on.  In an email to our newsroom, one couple likened the situation to Los Angeles stealing water from the Owens Valley. 

According to an article in the Ojai Valley News, the lawsuit escalated more than a week ago when the City of Ventura sent notices and summonses to roughly 10,500 property owners in the Ojai Valley. 

Tuesday's (1/21) town hall meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Boyd Center at 510 Park Road in Ojai. 

The first of three public meetings will be held January 30 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Matilija Auditorium at 703 El Paseo Road in Ojai. 

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3.