Let’s Reimagine our Water Supply

It’s no secret. Los Angeles needs water.

Even with the promise of this year’s El Niño rains, California’s drought is expected to continue. It’s time to rethink how we use this precious resource.

Think about it. We import 80 percent of our water. In an average four-person household, 68 percent of our water is used for functions that don’t require drinking-quality water– like toilet flushing, landscape irrigation or washing clothes. Yet, that 68 percent is the same quality water as the water we drink.

Angelenos can do better. There’s no reason to waste drinking water to flush toilets or water our lawns in a drought! Now is the time to invest in creating reliable, sustainable local water supplies for future generations. We need to use the right water for the right use.


That’s why TreePeople is facilitating a collaboration among the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, the City of Santa Monica, Heal the Bay and the Natural Resources Defense Council to promote the use of non-potable water–water not intended for drinking–for uses that don’t require highly-treated water.

These new guidelines, the first of their kind in LA, were announced in an event this month at the Pico Branch Library, a model of how graywater can be creatively implemented. Attendees were given a tour of the library’s award-winning recycled water project and heard from a variety of speakers, including our own Founder and President, Andy Lipkis, and Senior Director of Policy, Deborah Bloome.


Thanks to this effort, LA is taking a leadership role in re-imagining how we reuse water that’s already available to us. The result? A sustainable water supply and reduced pollution runoff from storms. That’s good news!

Want to learn more about how YOU can capture water at home? Join us for a free rainwater harvest workshop to gain all the tips you need! 


By Jenny Binstock

Jenny works on the policy team at TreePeople and has worked for over a decade on environmental, social justice, and global health issues. Her work involves making sure that local, county, and state policies advance the organization's goals for a thriving and sustainable Los Angeles. When she's not running between TreePeople's Yurt Village and City Hall, Jenny enjoys the good life: travel, books, food, art, music, film, the outdoors, and exploring and building community in LA.