Local Water


We lead the nation in water conservation and source the majority of our water locally.

Despite a wet start to the winter season, Los Angeles continues to experience severe drought conditions. Local water goals set out in the pLAn ensure a strong future for the City’s growing economy while protecting this precious resource. Through efforts spearheaded by the Mayor’s Water Cabinet and One Water initiative, we will reduce our dependency on imported water by developing local water supply, capturing and cleaning stormwater, recycling wastewater and recharging our groundwater basins. The pLAn also positions Los Angeles to bounce back from possible disasters while keeping rivers and beaches clean, accessible, and thriving with wildlife.

Progress on 2017 Outcomes

Reduce average per capita potable water use by 20%

The city reached the Mayor’s 20% reduction goal in January. Average potable water use decreased from 131 to 104 gallons per capita per day.

Establish Water Cabinet

Formed in November 2014, the Mayoral Water Cabinet includes the City’s water leadership and meets monthly to discuss priorities and progress toward meeting the pLAn’s local water goals. Under the leadership of the Water Cabinet, the City’s departments have reduced their water use by 25%, are building joint recycled water and stormwater capture projects, and are monitoring tree health and the impacts of the drought.

Expand recycled water production by 6 million gallons per day (MGD)

The expanded Terminal Island Advanced Water Puri cation Facility came online in February 2017, doubling recycled water production from 6 to 12 MGD – enough water to supply 67,000 residents per day.

Replace 95 miles of water pipe infrastructure

LADWP has replaced 95.84 miles of water pipe infrastructure ahead of schedule.

Reduce annual sewer spills to fewer than 125

Spills declined from 687 total in FY 2000-01 to just 103 in FY 2015-16, already approaching the 2025 goal of 100 spills in 2016.

Identify funding mechanism(s) to implement the Enhanced Watershed Management Plan (EWMP) necessary for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permit compliance

The Mayor’s Office is collaborating with government agencies and stakeholders to identify viable funding mechanisms, including a potential regional funding measure. The Bureau of Sanitation has completed 30 concept reports for distributed and regional green infrastructure projects.

Secure additional funding for San Fernando Groundwater Basin (SFB) cleanup

L.A. Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will install treatment facilities to clean up legacy pollutants and increase our drinking water production in the SFB to 137,000 acre-feet/year over the next 30 years. LADWP has committed to finance a portion of the $635 million projected cost through the 5-year rate action approved in 2016. LADWP has also applied for $53.4 million in state grants and is working to identify and hold responsible parties accountable for basin remediation.



Where L.A. Is Leading

L.A. is the most water efficient city in the U.S. (lowest total gallons per capita daily consumed)

L.A. signed the most stringent water efficiency building codes of any big city in the U.S.

Feature Story

Introducing New Water-Saving Building Standards

Los Angeles continues to lead the nation in water conservation. In 2016, new measures were incorporated into the City’s Green Building Code mandating water- saving technologies in new buildings, landscapes and additions or alterations costing more than $200,000. Responding to Mayor Garcetti’s Executive Directive No. 5 (“Emergency Drought Response”), the Department of Building and Safety partnered with stakeholders to draft the most stringent water conservation measures in any big city in the U.S., which went into effect in June.

The new rules require a 20 percent reduction in indoor water use through the installation of more efficient plumbing fixtures and fittings. They also set water budgets for landscape irrigation to be consistent with statewide standards. New multi-family dwellings and commercial buildings larger than 50,000 square feet must include sub-meters, giving occupants an incentive to save water. Buildings must also be greywater-ready and use recycled water where available.


“These are important steps toward creating a water-wise city far into the future. New buildings should reflect the 21st-century appreciation of water as a critical resource.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti

How Much Water Did We Save?

Since November 2014, LA has saved 60.5 billion gallons of water. This is the equivalent to filling 91,700 Olympic-sized pools, which each contain 660,430 gallons of water.


City Wins

Encouraging ‘Reasonable’ Water Use and Sustainable Turf Removal

LADWP amended the City’s Water Conservation Ordinance in May 2016, creating an Unreasonable Use of Water prohibition. The new rule incentivizes residents to conserve water or face hefty financial penalties. In September 2016, new rebate guidelines went into effect for Watershed- Approach Turf Removal, promoting sustainable landscaping by adding stormwater capture and other green requirements.

Pumping Out Free Recycled Water

Angelenos can now irrigate their trees and gardens
with free recycled water from the City. So far, residents participating in the Residential Recycled Water Fill Station Pilot Program have received nearly 9,000 gallons of recycled water from the L.A. Zoo and L.A.-Glendale Water Reclamation Plant Fill Stations.

H2O Number Cruncher

The City’s new “Water Data Fellow” is developing tools to track stormwater capture and benchmark water use in municipal and commercial buildings. A public dashboard with updates on the City’s progress toward its local water goals is also in the works. Funding for the one-year fellowship, a program of the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, comes from the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation.


Partner Wins

Bruins Claim Victory in Water Reclamation

UCLA expanded its water reclamation program to 22 buildings, capturing clean water from air handling units, autoclaves and other systems for reuse as make-up water in cooling towers. Annual water savings currently stand at 28.6 million gallons, but continuing buildout of the system will add another 20 million gallons of savings annually by late 2017, making UCLA a model of water- wise efficiency.

Many Drops in the Bucket

A fun, social media-driven competition invited Angelenos to showcase how they’ve saved water. Led by the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, and part of the Save the Drop campaign, the Drop Defenders competition rewarded one resident from each City Council district. Winners received a City Certificate, a Drop garden gnome, and other prizes from the L.A. Department of Water and Power.

A Stormwater Windfall in Watts

After years of litigation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, L.A. Waterkeeper and L.A. County agreed to a settlement addressing the high levels of pollution in stormwater owing into the Los Angeles River. The deal calls for a $2.8 million “green street” along 103rd Street in Watts, and $1.2 million for small-scale stormwater capture, cleaning and reuse projects.