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New plan to conserve L.A.'s water supply

May 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
With non-stop growth, water has become a critical issue in Los Angeles. On Thursday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled a new master plan to get the city through the next twenty years.The new plan calls for aggressive conservation and a major water recycling program.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch Amy Powell's report from Van Nuys.

City officials say by the year 2030 the population of Los Angeles will have grown by about a 500,000 people and the need for water will also increase by about 15 percent. That's why they say conservation and recycling is so important.

The plan introduced Thursday by Mayor Villaraigosa and other city officials has several components.

In the short term, it will toughen up enforcement of L.A.'s emergency water conservation ordinance, which prohibits watering of lawns between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from April to the end of September. Residents who don't comply may now face fines and other penalties.

The Department of Water and Power will also be doing wide-scale water recycling. The plan calls for a six-fold increase in the DWP's recycled water use. Officials plan to increase the city's system of using recycled water for irrigation and industrial uses. This part of the plan will require updating some of the waste water treatment facilities with advanced equipment.

The entire plan will cost more than $1 billion over the next 20 years. The mayor says his goal is to recycle and conserve enough water to meet 100 percent of future needs.

"In the next two decades, we'll see 500,000 new Angelinos, who will send water demand growing by 15 percent. L.A.'s future depends on our willingness to adopt an ethic of responsibility," said Mayor Villaraigosa.

"It is a new day. We have a new technology. We have examples all over the world of how this is done safely and reliably. And we have to bring Los Angeles into the modern age and to reuse the water that we have here within the city limits," said DWP General Manager David Nahai.

The DWP will also be starting a $2 million conservation education campaign. It will offer rebates for residents who purchase water-efficient washing machines, water-saving faucets and shower heads and waterless urinals.

The DWP also wants to distribute what it calls 'smart sprinklers' to L.A. residents that will adjust watering based on the weather conditions.

 

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