Increasing Drinking Water
In its natural state hundreds of years ago, open land in the Los Angeles area naturally filtered and cleansed water as it percolated down into the groundwater. Some areas of Los Angeles County get much of their drinking water from groundwater—the aquifer that’s below the surface. Groundwater is pumped up for drinking water (after further treatment), irrigation and other uses.
Over the years, urban development has added hard surfaces such as asphalt and concrete; most water now rushes along streets and flows to the ocean. As a result, today Los Angeles County’s local groundwater accounts for about 30 percent of our water consumption.(1)
To compensate, Los Angeles County is forced to import water from the Colorado River and Northern California. Imported water can be up to 10 times more expensive than local water because of transportation and monitoring costs. (2) It’s estimated that without enhancing local water supplies, we’ll need to double the amount of imported water in the next 10 years as population grows.
Considering that when it rains just 1 inch in Los Angeles County we send billions of gallons of stormwater right to the ocean, there is great potential for capturing stormwater. That’s a local water supply just waiting to be used.
Water quality projects funded by this Measure could capture and clean up much more rainwater. Water can be held in constructed basins, wetlands and even recreational areas, where water slowly percolates down into the ground—and is available to be pumped up later. (See Clean Water Projects for examples of drinking water enhancement projects.)
1 “Hydrologic Report 2009-2010,” Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Water Resources Division
2 “The San Gabriel River Corridor Master Plan,” June 2006, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Moore Iacofano Goltsman, Inc.