A Watershed Moment for Los Angeles

This vegetated depression, or swale, helps storm water infiltrate into the earth rather than running rapidly off sidewalks and streets.  While helping prevent damaging floods, bioswales can recharge local groundwater, beautify urban landscapes, and purify water all at the same time. This particular swale is in Seattle, but more may soon grace the streets of Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of US Environmental Protection Agency
This vegetated depression, or swale, helps storm water infiltrate into the earth rather than running rapidly off sidewalks and streets. While helping prevent damaging floods, bioswales can recharge local groundwater, beautify urban landscapes, and purify water all at the same time. This particular swale is in Seattle, but more may soon grace the streets of Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of US Environmental Protection Agency

The timing might seem odd, even self-destructive.

Last month, in the midst of one of the most severe droughts in California’s historical record, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an executive order calling for his southern California city to cut its water imports by half within a decade.

Water transferred hundreds of miles from northern California and the Colorado River currently accounts for about 80 percent of LA’s water use, so the goal is ambitious, to say the least.

It’s also a historic turn-around. Ever since the early 20th century, when Los Angeles diverted water from the Owen’s Valley a couple hundred miles to the East – a deal made famous by the classic Roman Polanski film, Chinatown – Los Angeles has done what just about every growing western city has done: reach further and further out for —> Read More Here

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