Los Angeles is running out of water, and time. Are leaders willing to act?
Sixty million people are living on the brink of running out of water.
“This situation is unprecedented,” said John Deasy, the city’s director of public health and human services.
About 1.5 million people in Los Angeles County live under a “water shed” – an area that typically has more reliable access to water than the rest of the county – and an additional 1.5 million people suffer from chronic water-based illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and kidney disorders that could lead to serious complications if there isn’t enough water.
The average person is expected to run out of fresh water in the next 17 years. The total amount that will go without water during that period, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, is more than enough for every person in the Los Angeles area to buy a gallon of water at the grocery store. The area with the fastest increase in water use, from 2007 to 2017, is in Los Angeles County from the Owens Valley to San Diego.
In 2017, the City of Los Angeles issued a request to utilities to shut off water to two dozen customers in a single hour to prevent contamination, following a fire. In response, the utility began shutting off water to all customers in the Los Angeles area at 6 p.m. on July 5, 2018 (7 p.m. on July 5, 2018).
“The water we take from the aquifers can be used by humans, but we have to treat it so it is not corrosive, so that the water is as safe as we can make it. It is as safe as we can make it,” said Deasy.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported that the water system’s supply was “over-reserved” at the end of 2018, with reserves at the end of 2018 down by 40 percent compared to