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What's bugging you? Wasted canyon water

March 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Is water being wasted as it pours down Laurel Canyon Boulevard? The very sight of it bugs some people. So Eyewitness News went looking for the answers.

Drive down Laurel Canyon Boulevard just south of Mulholland Drive and water is always there flowing down the street, thousands of gallons every day.

People want to know where it's coming from.

"There's water coming out 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the middle of summer when there's been no rain for months and months, the water is still coming out," said West Hills resident Michael Arri.

You can clearly see it bubbling from cracks on the pavement. Residents wonder if it's from an underground pipe, if all this water is being wasted.

"I think it's outrageous," said L.A. resident Bonnie Garvin. "I mean, particularly in view of the fact that people are getting fines for overwatering, and yet God only knows how many tens of thousands of gallons are just running down the Laurel Canyon constantly."

Any pipes here would belong to the Department of Water and Power. When we asked they knew exactly what we were talking about.

"We probably got the first calls around 2005, so we're well aware of this one," said DWP Senior Assistant General Manager Jim McDaniel. "We've been looking at it and tracing it for some time now."

The DWP certainly doesn't want to be losing precious water, so it brought in sound equipment to listen for a leak. Then it tested the water itself for chlorine and other chemicals, like a DNA sample. Would it match the DWP's water?

It turns out there was no leak, and no chlorine. It's a spring that has sprung under Laurel Canyon.

"It's a spring that's fed by rain," said McDaniel. "We noticed that there's a certain correlation between after the rainy season, we see this thing start to flow more. Towards the end of the summer, a lot of times it'll dry up."

The DWP says this spring is truly just a drop in the bucket.

"The cost to treat this really small amount of water really wouldn't be worthwhile, and also, since it runs some times and it doesn't run some times, you can't really depend on it," said McDaniel.

So drive carefully along this stretch. It's a bit slippery sometimes and when you look around at the hillsides, the vegetation might be just a bit greener thanks to this spring that flows through the canyon.