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#33962 - 11/01/13 10:26 AM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: saltydog]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Quote:
I don;t think any major infrastructure upgrades have been made in this regard. Would like to hear that I am wrong about this.


Salty, I'm happy to say that the stormwater system is now totally separate from the sewer system.

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#33964 - 11/01/13 10:42 AM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: Bob West]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
"It's going to be really interesting to see what happens if the Sierra has to endure another drought winter and the water from the Eastern Sierra goes down to a trickle. Would LA then do what they should do regarding conservation?"

There is a faction, even among LADWP, who think that transformational change and thinking only happen under crisis situations.

There may be truth to that.

Although it is true that LA has the lowest per-capita water use of any large city in the US, there is absolutely no doubt that there is a LOT that could be done ***without impacting lifestyle*** ---which is a key to making these things happen relatively easily. Part of it is simply educating people on what to do.

The amount that is wasted on outdoor vegetation watering is astonishing.

We already have restrictions on watering lawns, and we can't wash cars or driveways with a running hose.

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#33973 - 11/01/13 10:39 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: Bob West]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
I just ran across this article on the Yosemite site:

http://www.sierrawave.net/27112/1976-aqueduct-bomberts/

Are you familiar with this story, Ken?

The next big water fight:

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/22/local/la-me-delta-cost-20130923

People are already screaming about the Delta Tunnel Project here in town.
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#33974 - 11/01/13 11:36 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: Bee]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Bee, I did happen to read that fascinating article. I found it that way, because I personally know the LADWP manager cited in the article, James Yannotta, with whom I served on a recycling water group for several years.

For those interested, here is Jim giving a talk that summarizes the situation in LA, and specifically how recycling fits into that:

http://vimeo.com/42040785

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#33976 - 11/02/13 05:37 AM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: Ken]
saltydog Online


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1467
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Ken
Quote:
I don;t think any major infrastructure upgrades have been made in this regard. Would like to hear that I am wrong about this.


Salty, I'm happy to say that the stormwater system is now totally separate from the sewer system.


They always were separate systems (or at least around 1980). The problem was that the storm system was inadequate and and the sewer system integrity was dicey so that it took on double its normal flow or more in storm events. And since so much of LA's precip is concentrated in a relatively few events, that represented a big proportion of total surface flow. Unless the stormwater system has been upgraded and the sewer system tightened up, I am guessing that not much has changed with respect to flows to Hyperion for example during storm events.


The questiion also remains what is being done with the stormwater that does manage to stay separate from the sewer: is any recovered?
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#33978 - 11/02/13 11:50 AM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: saltydog]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
>Unless the stormwater system has been upgraded and the sewer system tightened up, I am guessing that not much has changed with respect to flows to Hyperion for example during storm events.

Both have been very upgraded. There are no sewage spills anymore, because Hyperion is not being inundated. I believe this was as a result of EPA action.


>The questiion also remains what is being done with the stormwater that does manage to stay separate from the sewer: is any recovered?

Virtually none. The Los Angeles River just flows into the ocean, either near Marina del Rey or Long Beach.

Contrast that with the San Gabriel River, to the east. Virtually every drop is captured and infiltrated into groundwater.

Thankfully, this situation is now being viewed as an opportunity:

http://www.lastormwater.org/blog/2012/05/creating-a-lasting-impression/

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#33994 - 11/06/13 10:34 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: Ken]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
I attended events surrounding the 100th anniversary of the Owens Valley Aqueduct yesterday.

Whether you love it, or hate it, it IS an amazing engineering feat, and is certainly responsible for the development of LA as one of the major cities of the world.

One interesting thing that happened was the speech given by Ron Nichols, the head of LADWP. He mentioned the efforts by the city to change the trend of usage of water. Specifically, he mentioned the current plan to remove the need for the use of water from the SF Bay Area by 80% by 2035. What was a surprise, was his announcement that LADWP has decided to make efforts to move that up to 2025.

This is a remarkable shift in emphasis.

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#33995 - 11/06/13 10:41 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: Ken]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1020
Loc: NorCal
Lots of interesting articles on the 100th birthday of the LA Aqueduct this week. The article link below has a pretty good snapshot of where they hope to be in 2025 with local sources - up to 36%. This will all help, but it's a long way from "water independence."

LA expects to cut SWP and Colorado imports in half by 2025, "while boosting groundwater use to 16 percent, recycled sewer water to 8 percent, water conservation to 9 percent and stormwater capture to 3 percent."

1000 yrs of Troubled LA Water History

So if they cut imports in half from the State Water Project and Colorado River, that could mean they might be more reliant on Eastern Sierra water in the future.

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#33996 - 11/06/13 10:59 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: Ken]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1020
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Ken
Bee, I did happen to read that fascinating article. I found it that way, because I personally know the LADWP manager cited in the article, James Yannotta, with whom I served on a recycling water group for several years.

For those interested, here is Jim giving a talk that summarizes the situation in LA, and specifically how recycling fits into that:

http://vimeo.com/42040785

I don't have time to be the 39th viewer of this video, but the text is interesting:

"Despite this variability, over 85% of Los Angeles County's water supply is imported; the rest is made up of limited groundwater resources and minimal recycling. Due to increases in demand at an unsustainable rate, Los Angeles was rated the city with the greatest chance of running out of water in a 2010 environmental report by 24/7 Wall Street and sustainability group Ceres."

OK, the South Region gets a little more than 10 inches of rain on average, so it's not officially a desert by climate definitions. But LA is apparently the most likely city to run out of water. Without the delta tunnels, the odds would certainly go up.

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#34000 - 11/07/13 11:17 AM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: Ken]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
For those interested in a dramatically different vision of how things COULD be, and are becoming in some areas of the US, here is a short video of Brad Lancaster, of Tuscon, who is probably the foremost expert on rainwater harvesting. I happened to work with him last week on a project here in LA, and he is a fascinating visionary:

Free Water, A Short Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aQrZtG-LVg

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#34014 - 11/07/13 06:51 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: Ken]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1020
Loc: NorCal
Watering native plants with rainwater, who'd a thunk that would work. It's called Xeriscaping, been around since the dawn of agriculture. Glad it's finally catching on in Tucson. Nicely produced video.

But again, watering desert flora is a drop in the bucket compared to all the other water people use in Tucson or LA. The bucket still needs to be filled up in a reliable manner.

This is all fine and dandy, and if you can replace that 85% of water that is imported to LA, great. The farmers can use it instead. But the danger is that people lose appreciation for what they have and oppose realistic solutions. As Ken wrote, "The growth and prosperity of our city has been largely defined by our ability to access large quantities of pure water." By the end of the article, that sentence is a distant memory.

Same thing with the Tucson video. They show the aqueduct that's made Tucson possible and then dismiss it like it's an evil thing. Put in solar panels to power those pumps, but don't think for a second Tucson can be Tucson without that water project.


Edited by SierraNevada (11/07/13 07:34 PM)

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#34020 - 11/10/13 05:00 AM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: SierraNevada]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 572
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
Watering native plants with rainwater... called Xeriscaping, been around since the dawn of agriculture


Well, that definition of xeriscaping understates the amount of water typically used in practice for landscaping in arid regions. Wikipedia's definition is closer - "Xeriscaping and xerogardening refer to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as climate patterns shift."

My wife and I practiced xeriscaping after building a home in the upper Mojave. It begins with using only native plants, or plants from areas which have similar rainfall patterns. Irrigation methods typically use a drip method.

Xeriscaping does require some supplemental irrigation. Without that, it would be extremely difficult to get vegetation started and to sustain new plantings. Without supplemental irrigation, few people would attempt it.

Some municipalities offer financial incentives to residences using/changing to xeriscaping practices.

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#34021 - 11/10/13 08:30 AM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: KevinR]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1020
Loc: NorCal
I think it depends on where you live. Here in Sacramento, my neighbor next door (also an engineer) tore out their grass and did a great job with native plants without any additional water, but we get a lot more rain than in the Mojave. One of my staff engineers, yeah another one of those bad guys Ken loves to insult, tore out his lawn and put in artificial grass. So yeah, a lot of people like yourself are doing their part and it all adds up. If some day it adds up big enough to not move water across the state, great, but let's appreciate the incredible system we have and continue our investment in it until that day comes, if it ever does.

It's a lot more likely that conservation and all these other great ideas will be just enough supplemental water to offset future population growth, not replace these engineering marvels. Many of the pumps and turbines have been upgraded to modern high efficiency models, at large expense. What we need is more green energy to run the pumps. Huge room for improvement there. That's one nice thing about the LA Aqueduct, it a gravity run system. I don't think they use any significant amount of power for pumping, and the system does produce significant green and clean hydropower.


Edited by SierraNevada (11/10/13 08:36 AM)

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#34023 - 11/10/13 12:21 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: SierraNevada]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 572
Loc: Manchester, NH
SierraNevada - Glad to hear that Sacramento is practicing xeriscaping. I believe the annual rainfall there is about 20". The upper Mojave, Ridgecrest/Inyokern specifically, gets a quarter of that, and in some years less than 10% of that. The upper Mojave is on the margin of the Great Basin, a large area of arid or semi-arid climate. When you consider that at least 3 large metropolitan areas - Las Vegas, Salt Lake and the Los Angeles megalopolis depend in part on this area for their water supply makes you scratch your head.

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#34025 - 11/10/13 05:53 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: KevinR]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2174
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
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#34026 - 11/10/13 07:19 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: KevinR]
saltydog Online


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1467
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: KevinR
When you consider that at least 3 large metropolitan areas - Las Vegas, Salt Lake and the Los Angeles megalopolis depend in part on this area for their water supply makes you scratch your head.


I'm sure scratchin mine. I was pretty sure that LA water comes from the Eastern Sierra, and Vegas with a population about 1/20th of LA, from the Colorado River i.e. central Rockies. Salt Lake, which is about 1/50th the population of LA County, gets its water largely from the Wasatch. None of these sources are in the Great Basin.
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#34027 - 11/10/13 10:10 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: saltydog]
dbd Online


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 181
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: saltydog
... I was pretty sure that LA water comes from the Eastern Sierra, and Vegas with a population about 1/20th of LA, from the Colorado River i.e. central Rockies. Salt Lake, which is about 1/50th the population of LA County, gets its water largely from the Wasatch. None of these sources are in the Great Basin.

The flow of the Colorado River is already oversubscribed. Any who use it and wish to grow are looking for alternate sources.

The eastern Sierra is in the Great Basin. The Sierra crest is part of the western border. Las Vegas has been trying recently to mine ground water from Spring and Snake valleys (in Nevada and Utah, surrounding Great Basin Nat'l Park) which are in the Great Basin. The west side of the Wasatch and Salt Lake (and the city) are in the Great Basin. The Wasatch crest is part of the eastern border.

But times do change. At the end of the last major glaciation in the western US, the Bonneville Basin (the Salt Lake area) sometimes drained into the Columbia River via the Snake River. And several times in the last 2000 years, the Colorado River has diverted itself into California's Coachella Valley and filled it to about sea level, or over 200 feet deep. While the filling was taking place, the upper Colorado basin was part of the Great Basin.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#34028 - 11/10/13 10:37 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: saltydog]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1020
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Originally Posted By: KevinR
When you consider that at least 3 large metropolitan areas - Las Vegas, Salt Lake and the Los Angeles megalopolis depend in part on this area for their water supply makes you scratch your head.


I'm sure scratchin mine. I was pretty sure that LA water comes from the Eastern Sierra, and Vegas with a population about 1/20th of LA, from the Colorado River i.e. central Rockies. Salt Lake, which is about 1/50th the population of LA County, gets its water largely from the Wasatch. None of these sources are in the Great Basin.

SoCal also imports a large amount of their water supply from the State Water Project and also from the Colorado River as well as the Eastern Sierra. California was buying up Nevada and Arizona water allotments for decades, but recently they are started to demand their full amount, which is forcing a reduction in supply for SoCal from the Colorado. The State Water Project has been delivering a fraction of the capacity because of environmental restrictions in the Delta, which greatly restricts when they can pump. And the LA Aqueduct is having to put water back into Owen's Lake (a huge dust bowl). So the squeeze is on for SoCal and they are spending a lot of money mitigating these impacts just to have supply reliability. Of course they will also support conservation to reduce demand and all the local resources that make sense.

Perhaps Kevin is referring to the transport of the water where aqueducts flow through the Great Basin, rather than the source of the water. In that regard, the Great Basin, and Central Valley are important players. The watersheds for these large projects are of course mountainous terrain, but the transport regions are also important from a system perspective.

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#34030 - 11/11/13 03:01 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: SierraNevada]
dbd Online


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 181
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
...
Perhaps Kevin is referring to the transport of the water where aqueducts flow through the Great Basin, rather than the source of the water. ...


No, Kevin got it right from the "source". All three cities "depend in part" on the Great Basin for water as Kevin said, except perhaps Salt Lake City which may be entirely dependent on the Great Basin.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#34033 - 11/11/13 09:35 PM Re: Dr. Ken Murray on LA and water [Re: dbd]
Whitney Fan Offline


Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 213
Loc: Las Vegas
"Vegas with a population about 1/20th of LA"

Hey, I resemble that remark! Can't let my fabulous Las Vegas take one on the chin.

Truth be told, with about 2,000,000 folks in the Las Vegas metro area compared to about 13,000,000 folks in the Los Angeles area . . . well, you do the math. (Or, if you let me, I come up with Vegas being between 1/6th to 1/7th of LA's population.)

And Salt Lake City only about 1/50th of LA? I peg Salt Lake at about 1,200,000, or slightly under 1/10th of LA, far from 1/50th.

(I used the 2010 figures from here , and I'm sure other information sources will be more or less in line.)

(On the other hand, saltydog, the spelling in your post was perfect! grin )

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