Los Angeles Is Building a Future Where Water Won’t Run Out

A helicopter whisks off a rooftop in downtown Los Angeles, climbs above a thin layer of haze and soars over barren mountains past the city’s edge. Soon, scars of climatic stress are evident to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Martin Adams, general manager and chief engineer of the city’s water and power department, as they peer out the windows. Trees torched years ago by wildfire. Flats parched by sun and little precipitation.

Opinion: We Must Fix the Salton Sea. And, Yes, Water Transfer is One Hope

In his recent Your Turn column, Alexander Schriener wrote that we need to focus on viable solutions for the ailing Salton Sea. I’d like to address some of the points made in that column.

“The Salton Sea is going through the natural evolution …,” Schriener wrote. There is nothing natural about farm chemicals. This is an intensely farmed region where the preferred means of disposing of these toxins is to use half as much water as the irrigation required simply to flush these chemicals into the sea, two or three times a year for over 100 years.

Los Angeles May Store Water Under an Owens Valley Lake Drained to Fill its Faucets

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has launched studies of ambitious plans to store water in the lake’s underground aquifer so that it could be pumped up in summer months and drought years to create pools of water to limit the dust sweeping across the vast lakebed’s salt flats.

The Surprise Reincarnation Of Owens Lake

A century ago, Los Angeles pulled a sensational swindle. Agents from the city posed as farmers and ranchers and strategically bought up land in the lush Owens Valley, 200 miles to the north. Water rights in hand, the thirsty metropolis proceeded to drain the region via a great canal.

Owens Lake: Former Toxic Dust Bowl Transformed Into Environmental Success

Fearsome gusts of desert wind routinely kicked up swirling clouds of choking dust over Owens Lake on the east side of the Sierra Nevada after 1913, when its treasured snowmelt and spring water was first diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct. It was not until 2001, and under a court order, that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power began transforming the lake’s grim heritage, flooding portions where toxic, powder-fine dust exceeded federal pollution standards. In what is now hailed as an astonishing environmental success, nature quickly responded.