Los Angeles faces critical challenges to ensure water security and climate resilience. Long, seasonal dry periods and droughts, as well as short periods of heavy rainfall, characterize our Mediterranean climate. Climate change is creating more extreme conditions, leading to longer dry periods and more intense storms.
At the same time, the urban landscape has been designed to drain rainwater and dry weather flows into the ocean as quickly as possible, failing to treat water as a precious resource. Engineers have long focused on large infrastructure projects to meet our flooding challenges and potable water needs. But we no longer have the luxury of relying on these large projects that allow us to be inefficient with the rest of our land and water. We must create a new normal that capitalizes on our invaluable local water supplies and embraces nature’s services.
The Water LA program was developed to explore the possibilities of LA residents playing a substantial role in managing the region’s stormwater. Intended to maximize water capture, conservation, and reuse on individual properties, our pilots offer a model for how to design sustainable home landscapes that could, in aggregate, create a more climate-resilient Los Angeles. The County’s 1.68M single-family residential properties comprise a substantial portion of the region’s developed land area, representing a huge sustainability opportunity.
The Water LA Program is spearheaded by The River Project and the Water LA Collaborative is in development with various partners to bring exponential progress to the program.
We are currently working to implement Water LA retrofits in the County unincorporated neighborhood of Altadena.