From the richest Hollywood celebrity to the most down on their luck room renter, everyone in Los Angeles has two things in common–the air that they breathe and their tap water. Efforts to curtail car emissions have somewhat improved the air quality, however, residents are still concerned about water pollution. Over the years, urban dwellers in cities like LA have become more concerned about what is in their tap water, and where it comes from.
Drinking the equivalent of eight glasses of water per day is a beauty secret of many of LA’s beautiful people. How to get that sparkling clean glass of water in any city can be a challenge. Although water purifiers are a hot-selling item in many urban areas, and many Los Angeles residents prefer their water in plastic bottles, tap water is still often used for cooking and bathing. Tap water is also used to water the flowers and vegetable gardens in the area.
Here are some surprising statistics about Los Angeles tap water.
1. Consider the Source
Los Angeles water comes from three sources, according to Truth-Out. The sources are the ground water that accumulates through rainfall, water brought in from Northern California, and the Colorado River. The ground water is the easiest to access; however, it takes more effort to be purified. Billions of dollars have been spent to clean up the water in the West and Central Water Basins, San Fernando water basin and San Gabriel water basin, the four main ground sources, since 1980. California has been known to have severe droughts and was a “dust bowl” state during the early 19th century.
2. Gray Water Gardens
Due to initiatives to save water, On May 18, 2016, the State Water Board of Los Angeles county put new emergency water conservation plans into effect. Using gray water to irrigate lawns and gardens have little restrictions. To use water from a washing machine, residents need to have a gray water drainage system in place. If a resident is planning to use dishwater or shower drainage to water their property, they just need to have their plans inspected. Using “recycled” water or gray water is used in states all over the country, but where there is the potential for water shortages, this practice is widely used to avoid dry, brown lawns.
3. The taste
Los Angeles Water Manager Melinda Rho is quoted in the LA Times as saying that if your plumbing is in good order, the water that comes from the tap is perfectly fine to drink, and only needs to be filtered if drinkers don’t like the taste of the fluoride or chlorine. It’s only if your pipes are old and rusty that you have to worry about a bad taste or smell from Los Angeles tap water. Ms. Rho says that she personally does not filter her own household drinking water.
4. Target Reduction in Consumption
In May 2016 a study by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, shows a 17.9 decrease in water usage, as compared to three years prior. The target goal is a 25% reduction and DWP is well on their way to making that goal a reality through public awareness campaigns and watering regulations.
5. Bottled Water Comparison
It’s no surprise that consumers favored bottled water over Los Angeles tap water in a comparison study published on Money Crashers. Buzzfeed’s employees took a blind taste test and found that LA tap water tasted like it came from a swimming pool. Another comparison taster said LA’s tap water was “disgusting”.
In an effort to purify its drinking water, in 2014 began using a substance called Chloramine instead of chlorine as an additive, according to Water Filters. According to the article, chloramine is created at water treatment plants by mixing chlorine and ammonia. It is supposed to last longer and be more effective overall as a disinfectant, as long as it is maintained at proper PH levels.
7. Brown Water Scares
The latest scare that happened in May 216 when residents in Watts, one of Los Angele’s poorest districts, turned on their taps to find brown, murky water flowing. This was explained as sediment deposits by the LAWPD and is said to be safe to drink. They are working to flush out the pipelines in hopes to reduce the amount of sediment and eventually have the water running clear. Drinking fountains were shut down, and children were given bottled water during the two weeks it took for the flushing to be completed.
8. How Much Water Is Used In LA
Statistics from the LAWPD show that in May of 2016 there were 13.279 billion gallons of water used in Los Angeles in one month. This is a remarkable downturn from the 16.055 billion gallons of tap water used in 2013.
9. Water Waster Alerts
As Los Angeles was fined by the state for wasting water, it initiated a campaign to target those in the city, including Hollywood, that waste the most water, according to the LA Times. Saying that these excessive water users “should be ashamed”, city officials started sending out letters and publicizing homes where use is excessive, including Amy Poehler and other celebrities. The estate of David Geffen was on the list, as his property was metered as using an average of about 27,000 gallons of water a day.
10. Use Less/Pay More
Many LA residents conserved water in 2015, so now their Department and Power has a revenue shortfall. In a 2015 LA Times article, it was explained that 2016 customer’s bills will increase about $1.80 per month, as they are taking in less in bill payments. They are looking for other ways to raise revenue without making more increases. DWP’s shorfall amounted to a $111 against its projected revenue for 2015.