Topics: LA's reclaimed water, organic agriculture in CA, Lake Erie gets rights
On this episode of Solutions News, recorded on March 22 - World Water Day, we talk about LA’s new solution to address its water needs in the future and then we ask how agriculture - that uses about 80% of the water in California - is dealing with a water scare world. Our guest is Das Williams, 1st district supervisor for Santa Barbara County. We finish up the show with a discussion on an interesting tactic being deployed in Toledo for protecting its water source, and some great “didyaknows”.
Geographically, the city of Los Angeles is in the middle of a desert and has always imported water from other sources like the Colorado River or from Northern California via the California Aqueduct. In February, mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, pledged that the city would recycle 100% of wastewater by the year 2035. If successful, this plan would allow 70% of the water in the city to be sourced locally. Under mayor Garcetti’s proposal, wastewater that is currently treated and dumped into the ocean at the Hyperion treatment plant in El Segundo would be treated further and transported to inland storage facilities or reinjected into aquifers in Los Angeles. By moving to recycle 100% of its wastewater, L.A.’s water managers are acting prudently to build resilience into the city’s water supplies.
One of the largest investments of water in the state of California is invested in agriculture. While the California drought it officially over, the state will continue to experience water shortages unless we shift to a more sustainable system. One important way to make this shift is by increasing organic farming. Organic farming helps to create systems that use water effectively because organic soil retains more water than conventional soils. It also creates produce that is glyphosate free (since there is no pesticide) and boosts the natural immune system of plants, especially when monoculture crops are not grown. Rinaldo shares some personal experiences with organic farming and the benefits it can bring.
Environmental Rights in Toledo
At the end of February, the citizens of Toledo, Ohio passed an important resolution granting full environmental rights to Lake Eerie. Now, any citizen can sue on behalf of the lake, rather than having to prove personal damage because of the environmental degradation. Lake Eerie is the main source of water for the city of Toledo, but also for the other cities that border the lake, Cleveland and Buffalo. However, historically, the lake has constantly faced pollution problems. In 2014, the entire town of Toledo, a town with a population of 276,000 people, could not use any water for an entire week because of algae blooms in the lake. Both in Toledo and around the country, the protecting the future of our environmental resources are essential for our prosperity and must be protected.
Hyperion Waste Water Treatment Plant, El Segundo, CA