Water Down the Drain

Culver City Flood

Last Tuesday, I woke up with a lake in front of my house on a quiet residential street in Culver City right next to Ballona Creek. A thoughtful and compassionate neighbor of mine had run (or shall I say, waded?) through our neighborhood, knocking on every door to wake us all up to move our cars while we could. In the confusion and commotion of moving two cars to a higher and drier spot, then wading through knee-deep muddy water to my house only to watch the same water inching up to our porch for the next three hours, I could not help but think about the unjustified waste of such a precious, expensive resource due to mismanagement and poor planning. This was not the first time our front yard was turned into a lake due to a water main break. In fact, it was the second time in less than four years! I also shuddered at the thought of all the pollution flowing into Ballona Creek as our drinking water, which had traveled hundreds of miles to get to our faucets, was instead swiftly exiting through the storm drain after washing off pet waste, motor oil, fertilizers and fecal bacteria into the Creek and ultimately the Santa Monica Bay.

Fortunately, the lake in front of our house is gone and the street is being repaved. What is still here is the attitude that we can treat our water quality and water supply issues separately and that we can exploit our infrastructure until it is on its death bed. Through our litigation and advocacy efforts, Los Angeles Waterkeeper has consistently fought to change this attitude with the goal of protecting and enhancing all water resources in Los Angeles County. Every time measures to protect water quality were implemented as a result of our work, these same measures resulted in better planning, better infrastructure development and maintenance and better living. Now we just have to learn to plan before problems arise…

To find out ways that you can get involved in the fight to protect’s LA’s waterways, or to make a donation towards our work, visit www.lawaterkeeper.org .

-Tatiana Gaur, Staff Attorney

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