Environment & Science

LA’s updating its water strategy with recycling, groundwater use

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Los Angeles city water and power commissioners have approved a new strategy to keep water flowing to homes and businesses and it takes shrinking supplies into account.

The LA Department of Water and Power has to make an urban water management plan every five years. Since the last time the utility did this, state law added a requirement that the DWP cut water use per person by 20 percent within nine years.

The last plan proposed a desalination plant at Scattergood Generating Station to increase the water supply. It also anticipated a connection between the LA aqueduct and the California aqueduct. Those expensive solutions never came to pass and now LA water officials aren't counting on them.

The newly approved plan reflects the DWP’s new focus on recycling water for industrial use and for irrigation in areas such as city parks. It emphasizes conservation, especially for outdoor landscaping that represents more than half the water use in the region's single-family homes.

LA also would like to use more of the water it stores below the surface in aquifers in the San Fernando Valley. That poses a problem, however, because historic pollution contaminates that water, so the Department of Water and Power will need money for cleanup.