One Water- From Concept to Council
Yesterday, I attended a hearing of the Energy and Environment Committee of the LA City Council. The councilmembers and city staff discussed several water related items that had a common thread. The City, under the leadership of Councilmember Fuentes, is pursuing the “One Water” planning concept under the coordination of the LA City Bureau of Sanitation and the LA Department of Water Power. The concept of One Water is intuitive, but not common practice in our management of water in California. In an effort to better manage our local water supply and address our pollution problems, the City’s goals include integrating water management and identifying projects that provide multiple benefits, as opposed to traditional single benefit projects.
Projects discussed include stormwater capture systems that prevent pollution from reaching our rivers and beaches and that augment our local groundwater aquifers, cleaning up our contaminated groundwater for use, and recycling wastewater for irrigation and potable uses. These are the solutions that all Angelenos should support, especially in light of our changing climate and the recent drought declaration.
At this point, however, this is still a conceptual conversation. In order for “One Water” to become a reality in Los Angeles, we need the full integration of our municipal agencies. While I commend the City’s water agencies for finally discussing these issues, we have a long way to go to see actual common goals and integrated action. I encourage the City Council to continue requiring agencies to report to our elected representatives on progress, and to consider more formal integration of our water agencies. In addition, this concept should become a consideration in all we do in the City of LA – whether its retrofitting streets, constructing parks, planning highway construction, addressing flood control – the opportunities to infiltrate and conserve water are everywhere.
-Liz Crosson, Executive Director