Implementing integrated water management systems (IWM) that incorporate all components of the urban water cycle, including imported water, local groundwater, captured stormwater, greywater, and treated wastewater is crucial to creating a sustainable water supply for the city of Los Angeles (City). The City has researched, written, and initiated implementation of recommendations from many reports critical to creating an IWM plan for the City as well as to defining the current capacity of the system. While work on this issue has been ongoing for many years, the extreme drought currently impacting water supplies throughout California has created a new urgency to increase the City’s ability to provide a secure water supply through local sources. In April 2015, Governor Brown directed the first-ever statewide mandatory cut of 25% in urban water use due to the continuing drought conditions.
In addition to statewide efforts, many policies and plans have been created on a local level within the City that address urban water management, integrated resources planning, stormwater capture, and groundwater management. The Los Angeles Mayor’s Office recently set strong goals to increase the sustainability of the City’s water supply over the next several years. The goals included completing a comprehensive sustainability plan containing objectives for water supply and demand in the City, which was released in April 2015 (Sustainable City pLAn). In an emergency drought directive released in October 2014, the Mayor identified additional accelerated water goals including reducing per capita potable water use by 20% by 2017 (from 2014 base-line of 130 gallons per capita per day (GPCD) to 104 GPCD), reducing the City’s reliance on MWD water by 50% by 2025, and converting 85% of public golf course acreage to recycled water by 2017.
Through building upon regional research and reports that have been generated on potential components of the local water supply portfolio (e.g., groundwater, recycled water, and stormwater), as well as gathering and analyzing current data on flows of water and wastewater throughout the City systems and environment, this project further identifies and refines opportunities to implement integrated water management throughout the City. As water quality regulation in the Los Angeles area currently drives much of the current water management practices, we examined greater water self-reliance through this lens. Therefore, the City has been divided by watershed to assess Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) compliance alongside integrated water management opportunities and challenges that exist and must be addressed in order to meet water quality compliance requirements and maximize local water supply. This first report focuses on the Ballona Creek Watershed and the Hyperion Service Area; following reports will focus on the Dominguez Channel and Los Angeles River watersheds.