Can You Fight Fires While Saving Water? Long Beach FD System Reclaims Millions of Gallons Per Year

Until recently, any time Long Beach firefighters practiced using their high-powered hoses, the water they sprayed ended up in the drain.

In any given year, that added up to millions of gallons that washed away during training exercises.

“The old way of doing training was either doing it dry or, if you really wanted to do training while flowing water, that water went directly into the gutter and was completely wasted,” Long Beach Fire Engineer Mike Shrout said.

That changed in 2018 when the Long Beach Fire Department acquired something called a Direct Recycling Apparatus Firefighter Training & Sustainability Unit, or DRAFTS Unit, for short.

New History Exhibit Shows City’s Deep Relationship With Water Is Everywhere

Long Beach’s origin story is awash in water. It was a resort and farming town of transplanted Iowans who got water from aquifers under Signal Hill; the drill bits even found a more lucrative resource underneath: oil. Then when the city outgrew the wells, the Metropolitan Water District was forming and voters jumped in. Freshwater for drinking and saltwater for playing. The Pike, the L.A. River, the aquarium and Alamitos Bay, then there are the coastal wetlands that have largely disappeared, though, thanks to climate change, those wetlands seem to be coming back. The city’s evolving relationship with water is the subject of the Historical Society of Long Beach’s new exhibit “Water Changes Everything.”

Nature Can Soften Impacts Of Rising Seas—If We Let It

By the end of the century, rising seas will force Long Beach to find ways to protect homes and businesses—or see some of them swallowed by the sea. While seawalls, breakwaters and other barriers are already deployed up and down portions East Coast and West Coast, not all solutions are made of concrete and stone. Some say the future of protecting California’s coasts, and the developments behind them, will include more natural solutions like restoring wetlands and other habitats so they can help slow storm surges and combat other effects of sea level rise.

Drought Will Become The Norm By Mid-Century As The Planet Warms

In a sea of grassy lawns in Long Beach’s Rose Park neighborhood, Susan Moffett’s yard is a drought-tolerant retreat dotted with lavender, rosemary and pink-flowered abutilon plants. Originally from the Midwest, Moffett grew up with suburban green lawns, but as a landscape designer, she said drought tolerant plants are the necessity in Southern California. “A lot of people don’t realize the magnitude of our water shortage,” she said. “We all have a responsibility to conserve water.” One particularly perilous effect of climate change is the fact that Southern California is expected to become much hotter and drier in the coming decades.

What Long Beach Is Doing To Stay Green During An Epic Drought

With its dying trees, sad stumps and crusty brown grass, it’s clear to many drivers that the Traffic Circle has seen better days. “It looks pretty bad right now,” said Councilman Daryl Supernaw, whose 4th District includes the East Long Beach roundabout. “We’ve definitely had lots of emails and phone calls about the conditions.” The local landmark is one of the casualties as Long Beach, like all of California, faces epic drought conditions, and officials say the cost of watering parks and medians and could reach into the several millions of dollars if the region sees another dry season.