"It's as low as I can remember it," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti while overlooking the Hollywood Reservoir. With the city facing one of the hottest, driest and most challenging drought periods in its recorded history, Garcetti said his successor should see the work needed through to completion. (Related: America's infrastructure is falling apart, as evidenced by water supply and power grid failures.)
"It's not an easy path. It's not a cheap path. But it's achievable," said Garcetti, who is ineligible to seek a third term as mayor. "And if he or she doesn't do it, we're in big trouble."
The city's main focus is to increase the amount of drinking water the city gets from wastewater recycling, or the capture and treatment of water for reuse. Currently, recycled water only makes up about two percent of the city's drinking water. Officials hope to get that percentage up to 35 percent or higher.
To that end, the city is building a direct potable reuse facility which is expected to become the first facility of its kind in the state. It will put purified recycled water directly back into the drinking system and is slated to come online within the next five years.
Los Angeles is also building a facility to recycle 100 percent of available wastewater from a nearby water reclamation plant. Once this project becomes operational by 2027, it could provide enough drinking water for more than 200,000 people each year.
The city is also building an advanced water purification facility known as the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, which is expected to come online by 2035. When completed, it will produce enough water for two million people.
The smallest of these water supply reinforcement projects will still take years before they come online. Before that happens, the city is trying to prevent its residents from wasting water.
Unfortunately, the number of complaints the city is receiving regarding water waste is increasing. In 2021, the city received an average of 146 complaints per month. In Jan. 2022, the city received a record-high of 191 complaints. The record was broken again in March and May, and then surged in June when the city received 589 calls about water waste. In August, the record was once again broken when 618 complaints about water waste were recorded.
These calls are made for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common are reports about leaky sprinklers or hoses. Other times, city residents may complain about a neighbor watering their lawn on a day it is not allowed.
While these people are not receiving complaints, Los Angeles' celebrities are some of the worst offenders – with some of them exceeding their allotted water usage by over 500 percent.
Comedian and actor Kevin Hart's 26-acre property in Calabasas, Los Angeles County, exceeded its water allotment in June by 519 percent, or 117,000 gallons. Actor Sylvester Stallone's 2.26-acre property in the county exceeded its allotment by 544 percent, or 230,000 gallons.
In the city and gated community of Hidden Hills, two of socialite Kim Kardashian's properties went over their allotment by 230,000 gallons. The property of her sister, Kourtney, exceeded the allotment by about 101,000 gallons.
As neighbors call city authorities over the leaky pipes of their neighbors, calls are growing for the city and county's richest residents to be held accountable for the massive water waste on their properties.
Watch this episode of the "Health Ranger Report" as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, discusses the drying up of the Mississippi River.