THE BEACH HOUSE — A toast with bottled water opened a roundtable discussion Friday, Oct. 10 about local water issues, led by L.A. County Supervisor candidate Bobby Shriver.
A group of around 15 stakeholders met at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica to discuss how the county could pursue a comprehensive water policy plan in the future.
Shriver said recycling and reusing water has to become a priority, and while it might take a while to build up necessary infrastructure, changes should happen as a master plan is formed, not after.
“It’s not a perfect analogy, but it took several years to shift our homeless policy to housing-first,” he said.
Steve Fleischli, senior attorney and director of the Natural Resources Defense Council national water program, said there is “no mystery” about what the current challenges are, especially regarding water efficiency.
Fleischli discussed the need to capture and clean stormwater, as well as cleaning groundwater and promoting conservation.
Santa Monica Councilmembers Tony Vasquez, Bob Holbrook and Terry O’Day attended the meeting, as well as Kim Lamorie of the Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program.
“Santa Monica is different because we have wells,” Holbrook said. “People pump their own water.”
About 330 million gallons of water flow down the L.A. River every day, and according to Omar Bronson of the L.A. River Revitalization Corporation, that number rises to 10 billion gallons during a storm.
Bronson told the group less money needs to be spent to get water to L.A., and instead focus on retention and storm management.
“We need a better closed-loop system,” Shriver said.
The group discussed developing local groundwater resources through stormwater capture, and supported the idea of starting to build more water infrastructure.
Shriver said he appreciated the feedback at the roundtable discussion because he wants to figure out how to change the culture surrounding water in Los Angeles.
Caption: Kelsey Fowler / Steve Fleischli of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Santa Monica councilmember Terry O’Day and L.A. county supervisor candidate Bobby Shriver talk about a water policy for the county at a roundtable meeting Friday, Oct. 10.