Our River

I took this shot from a rented kayak this past July. Virginia and I spent the a few hours exploring this river with other members of the LA Conservation Corps. Can you tell where we are? The overpass in the background is Burbank Blvd. This is the LA River near Balboa park in the San Fernando Valley.

What is remarkable is that there is plenty of water here. Yet we're in the depths of the worst drought seen in the last 50 years, as we're constantly being told by the media.  The river does run many dozens of miles but not all of it has this much water. 

To be sure, the water is sort of green & warm. And the source of all this water is actually a sewage treatment plant several miles up stream.  Sounds disturbing, but this is far from raw sewage since it's treated twice before being released. Certainly not potable, but plenty so for the mother ducks and ducklings, egrets and all the healthy riparian growth along the banks.

Yet, it's sad that this flows past our common sense and drains to the ocean.  Many other communities like the very hot and arid Palmdale actually replenish their underground aquifers with this type of treated water then let mother nature finish the filtration job to make it drinkable again.

True to the typical bungled and overly politically correct reactions of LA City council members, they actually had this nice system in place back in 2000. But they named the program "Toilet to Tap". How dumb.  Residents freaked out and demanded that their drinking water be sourced directly from DWP reservoirs - which are stocked by Sierra snow pack.  

A simple name change would have gone a long way to reduce the panic.  "Greenwater Recycling".  "Reduce Reuse Reclaim".  Anything without "Toilet" would have been and easy sell to residents. More on this about face from the LA Times.

Also, I joined another local group in Pasadena regarding DIY home greywater systems. If the city won't do it, perhaps we should take care of things ourselves.






Comments (4) -


How cool! It's on my list now. Loved the kayak shot.


Seems to me that the entire river should be dry, all water diverted to our underground aquifers for natural filtration.  But while I was there it was nice that my butt was afloat, not on the river bottom...


Cool, dude! I never knew that was there. Of course, it's been 20 years since I spent any time at Balboa Park. I'm going to have to go now and kayak with the kids.


Saw this article tonight on LATimes.com:
"L.A. can do more to reduce costly imported water, activists say"


The best quote from the article: "...residents could do their part by reusing water from their showers and washing machines to water plants, remaking their yards so that water is funneled into groundwater instead of the gutter, replacing thirsty lawns with native plants and using permeable paving."

Well amen to that. Let's hope the city is listening.

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