Department of Public Works
Generation Earth for Youth Groups: Resources for Los Angeles County Eco-Clubs

Water Issues

In Los Angeles, we receive water from four sources. Fifteen percent of our potable water (drinking water) comes from ground water. The remaining eighty-five percent of our potable water is imported through aqueducts (pipes and channels that transport water from a remote source using gravity) from the Sacramento River, the Eastern Sierras, and the Colorado River. After being filtered, this water is piped into our homes, schools and businesses for use in kitchens and bathrooms.

Once this "indoor water" is used, the underground sanitary sewer system carries wastewater from homes and businesses to treatment plants such as the Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Plant. Here, the wastewater is cleaned, solids and pollutants are removed, and the treated water is discharged into the ocean, five miles from the shoreline.

"Outdoor water" or urban runoff consists of water from garden hoses, sprinklers, car washing activities, etc. Along with rainwater, this water travels over concrete and asphalt picking up pollutants (cigarette butts, automotive fluids, trash, pesticides, and pet waste) and carrying them into gutters that channel it into catch basins and the storm drain system. The storm drain system, which is separate from the sanitary sewer system, carries urban runoff into flood control channels, rivers and the ocean. Urban runoff receives no treatment before it is discharged into the ocean, endangering ocean swimmers, polluting coastal ecosystems, and killing marine life.

By participating in our From the Streets to the Sea Teen Action Program, you will be challenged to learn more and take action. Service projects to reduce water pollution range from starting litter abatement campaigns, to planting a tree, to teaching children about water pollution.

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