Combating the Drought: Channeling the Flood

The intense winter rains of 2016-2017 may mean relief from the drought for Northern California, but here in Southern California we’re not out of the woods yet.

Our new climate reality promises one thing: weather extremes. Our water supplies are unpredictable for us and our trees. Years of drought that kill off our trees by the thousands and parch the earth will be followed by times of intense flooding, like we are experiencing now.

We must prepare TODAY for the “feast or famine” of our water future.

The solutions lie in capturing the rain and providing incentives for homeowners to do their part.  Read on to see our Policy priorities for 2017.

Changing lives in unincorporated LA

Each year, billions of gallons of untreated, polluted water are flushed down the LA River and ultimately onto our beaches and ocean, reeking havoc on our ecosystems and health. But thanks to a forward-thinking $4 million settlement supporting projects in unincorporated LA and Watts, we can make a difference.

TreePeople is proud to be part of the effort to invest $1.2 million of the funds by way of rain gardens and drought-tolerant landscaping to residents living in neighborhoods with high climate-risk.

We will partner with LA County, NRDC, LA WaterKeeper and local community organizations to change lives and combat the effects of climate change. We need to make sure that precious rainwater goes straight to gardens and into the ground, not into our ocean or our rivers.

The Greater LA Water Collaborative

2017 also brings a continued partnership with LA’s largest water agencies: LADWP, LA County Flood Control District and the LA City Bureau of Sanitation– the Greater LA Water Collaborative.

The Collaborative has already launched a pilot-to-scale program, LA StormCatcher, to test how residential stormwater capture can impact the region’s water supply issues with powerful results.

This is a plan with real potential. According to our Stormwater Capture Master Plan, LA could have up to 45% of its water needs supplied by projects like LA StormCatcher we demand that our agencies and policymakers support the right infrastructure and programs.

That’s why it’s KEY to get larger projects off the ground. Imagine all the water we save for drier years. We CAN thrive and survive, but the change needs to happen NOW.

Learn more about our work on our policy page!

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.