What’s Up With Water?

By Ellen Lomonico

Outside of the luscious green lawns of Bel Air, Southern California is a coastal desert. Average rainfall in the Los Angeles region is only 14.93 in/year. To make up for our local water deficit, LA imports water from a variety of sources such as the Colorado River and the San Francisco Bay Delta. Water is valuable, yet we do not act like it.

Jet Lowe for the Historic American Engineering Record project The Los Angeles Aqueduct cascades down to a filtration plant and the Los Angeles reservoir. The photo was taken in 2001.

Jet Lowe for the Historic American Engineering Record project

The Los Angeles Aqueduct cascades down to a filtration plant and the Los Angeles reservoir. The photo was taken in 2001.

UCLA is committed to both increasing water education and investing in a sustainable water future. Adhering to the Grand Challenges Initiative, UCLA is poised at the forefront of sustainable policy in Los Angeles. The 2014 Water Action Plan strives to make the campus a model for water sustainability. It includes goals such as converting the intramural field to artificial turf and measures such as the housing sustainability initiative. Our student Action Research Water Team (ART Water) is one of these measures.

The ART Water Team kicked off with a quick and excited start. Team leaders Ellen Lomonico and Grace Olson are both returning members, while members Thomas, Taylor, and Erika are new to ART. All are armed with fresh and inspired ideas.

ART Water continues to work with Senior Planner Tracy Dudman of UCLA Capital Programs. Over the course of our first two meetings with Tracy, we discussed the past ART Water team’s work and finalized our direction for the year. Our goals include:

  • Investigate plumbing and water use in bathrooms on campus, with the goal of retrofitting bathrooms with ideal water saving fixtures.

  • Research drought-tolerant landscaping on campus.

  • Explore stormwater policy, or the lack thereof, on the UCLA and UC campuses.

  • Improve student education on water by creating a “water footprint” app and modifying the residential life “Green Guide to Living” pamphlet.

With the help of our wonderful stakeholder, we will meet with campus specialists in plumbing (Tim More) and UCLA residential sustainability (Aliana Lungo-Shapiro) to discuss our ideas in these areas. We are excited to dive in and get our feet wet!

 

References:

1. "Los Angeles, California Average Rainfall." Los Angeles, California. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2014. 

2. "America's Water Infrastructure Shows Its Age - The National Debate About How to Pay for Repairs | Circle of Blue WaterNews." Circle of Blue Water News. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2014.