Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Mayor Eric Garcetti announced last week that L.A. will recycle 100% of its wastewater by 2035 — a major step to expand water recycling and reduce reliance on imported water. While the plan could cost $8 billion and take 16 years to complete it could go a long way toward making a drought-prone city more sustainable. As the LA Times reported, in order to achieve this the city will have to stop dumping its treated effluent into the sea and instead uses it to replenish the local groundwater reserves that help supply municipal customers. Doing that will require costly equipment upgrades at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, new groundwater wells, and the construction of a 15-mile pipeline.
From the mayor’s press release, Hyperion — the largest treatment plant west of the Mississippi River — currently receives 81% of the City’s total wastewater and recycles 27% of the water that flows into the facility. Currently, only 2% of the city’s water supply comes from recycled water. The LA Times also noted that the plan will require a change of heart by L.A. residents, who 18 years ago succeeded in killing a city project that would have used treated sewage to recharge the San Fernando Valley aquifer. City officials are optimistic. They say years of drought, declining imports and the high profile of a similar program in Orange County have softened resistance.
Why This Matters: This plan is expensive and ambitious but not undoable. As we saw last year with the water crisis in Cape Town (where the city of 430k residents nearly ran out of water), cities in water-stressed regions of the world have to start taking their water planning seriously especially as climate change begins to spread drought. In Los Angeles, $8 billion will pale in comparison to having to desalinate or import water to meet the demand of the city’s 4 million residents.
As California’s drought conditions are worsening, Nestle is pumping millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino forest. State water officials have drafted a cease-and-desist order to force the company to stop overpumping from Strawberry Creek, which provides drinking water for about 750,000 people.
The ice-out date for Maine’s Lake Auburn is now three weeks earlier than it was two centuries ago, the Portland Press Herald reports, and other lakes across New England show similar trends. Climate change is not good for ice, and that includes Maine’s lakes that freeze over every winter.
Why This Matters: A disrupted winter with lakes that “defrost” earlier has multiple knock-on effects for freshwater: in addition to harming fish in lakes, the resulting large cyanobacteria algae blooms that form can be harmful to human health.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Drought conditions cover 85% of Mexico as lakes and reservoirs dry up across the country. Mexico City is experiencing its worst drought in 30 years, and the reservoirs and aquifers are so depleted that some residents don’t have tap water. The capital city relies on water pumped in from […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.