L.A. Water Managers Aim to Boost Interest in Recycled Water

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Water managers for the city of Los Angeles want to boost interest in how water gets to the tap. KPCC's Molly Peterson says that means focusing on recycling water that's already been through it.

Molly Peterson: Neighborhood council members, many from the San Fernando Valley, nodded as L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa reminded them that the city blooms in a desert thanks to borrowed water. At a conventional treatment plant in Van Nuys, they laughed as he drank some water borrowed from a wastewater recycling plant in Orange County.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: (laughs) ... but it tastes of L.A.'s future. Now, fill it up, fill it up, no no no, don't cheat. Fill it up.

Peterson: L.A. water managers touted Orange County's so-called toilet-to-tap project. It recycles wastewater by treating and filtering it multiple times. They hope to imitate that method. The mayor's blueprint for a sustainable water future includes a goal of recycling six times as much water as the city already does.

The city's working to sell such a project, minus an unseemly name, to local leaders. Jay Goldberg, from the Toluca Lake neighborhood council, says he already understands there's an urgent need for water.

Jay Goldberg: For this meeting, they're probably preaching to the choir. I think the greater population needs to be assured that it's a safe and reasonable solution, to reclaiming wastewater.

Peterson: Goldberg says he'll be eager to see how the city does that.