. . . did you know that in the case of the Big One (a magnitude 8.0 earthquake) hitting Southern California, it may take two whole years to repair the broken aqueducts? That’s a long time to go without drinking water!
I heard that gem at a “Lunch & Learn Class” given by West Basin Municipal Water District on April 6, 2018. West Basin is way ahead of us in water conservation. Probably because they got started way back in 1947 when salt water from the ocean intruded into the wells that they were using for drinking water. Yuck. They had to reduce groundwater pumping to halt the intrusion, which meant importing more water.
They now import 66 percent of their water. But they want to be self-sufficient in case of the Big One. (Great idea!) Their plan is to move away from depending on imported water by 1. water conservation and 2. water capture.
West Basin can turn sewage into drinking water in three hours at the Edward Little Water Recycling Facility. Sounds gross until you realize that the planet Earth and the International Space Station recycle sewage into drinking water, too.
Current laws don’t allow us to drink water that was recently sewage. Yet. That could change.
In the meantime, that special clean water is flowing in purple pipes to parks and golf courses and to groundwater (just not very close to the wells). It is also used in industry.
West Basin can also turn seawater into drinking water. It’s not popular yet because it’s still too expensive. But here’s something you probably didn’t think about: You can’t just dump the salt that you extract back into the ocean. Normal ocean salinity is 32 parts per one thousand, and a mere increase of 10 to 42 parts per one thousand impacts life in the ocean.
Other ideas from West Basin sound more like what we are used to. They give away free tools like rain barrels and water-saving devices, and they host classes in rainwater capture and grey-water use.
West Basin also provides information on “Ocean Safe Car Washes” that use 50 percent to 85 percent less water than the average home car wash.
Why bother talking about West Basin? Because they can be an inspiration for us here in the San Gabriel Valley. Just because we have water flowing down from the mountains and no threat of sea water intrusion, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be doing everything we can to save and capture water.
Thanks, West Basin, for showing us the way!