How WeHo can thrive in a world with less water

“Cool, clear water…”

Word has it that Planet Earth is 73% water and only 2% of that amount is fit to drink – sorta.

The degree of pollution in that remaining small percentage is so high that nearly all of it must be treated for human – and animal – consumption. Of course, we in our highly industrialized country seldom bother to think much about water until we are told we cannot have as much as we’re used to. Water providers and scientists in many disciplines, especially climate science, have been warning us for years that one day soon we would encounter restrictions on the use of water. That day has come.

The news media can’t stop talking about the heat wave in the West and showing pictures of nearly empty reservoirs and fallow fields in the Central Valley.

Hard to miss all the attention.

Locally, it seems not to be upsetting too many people, as the first full day of “re-opening” the state roars on. West Hollywood has been pushing water conservation for at least 10 years.

Check the city website (weho.org) and you’ll find a few informative videos on water conservation and land use as well as links to our water providers: Beverly Hills Water department, LA Dept. of Water and Power, plus others for their take on the drought we are experiencing and how to live with it. But these voices are getting faint as so many of us seem to ignore this real disaster.

Think about it: WeHo is a resort city in the sense that we rely so heavily on income from our bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels and other businesses which cater to visitors – all generous users of water. You know that the first thing which comes to mind in the CEOs office at the water utility – raise prices as we squeeze the pipe tighter.

We’ve been here before, but this time it’s really going to hurt and we must learn some new ways to survive the drought. Some readers may recall Abbe Land’s remarks about not running water as we brush our teeth. Surely, that’s a start and, while we are in that part of our living quarters, think about fewer, shorter showers and that old axiom – “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”

We are facing the era of mandated low flow toilets, timer valves, auto shutoff faucets. For those who maintain gardens, hand watering will be a thing of the past and all watering will be some form of drip watering with timing devices monitoring the action. Leaf litter will come back into its own as a soil builder and our gardeners will have to learn some new tricks or find another trade. You’ll not get water with your meal at a restaurant unless you ask for it. This may be good for the restaurants as wine might be a good alternative.

We are being forced to accept the reality of change. There is no turning back. Intelligent people prepare for disaster when the tools are available. For instance, considering the possibility of one day having no water at the tap because the provider is rationing its supplies and declaring a “water holiday” (happens elsewhere) would make me have a 5 gallon jug as a backup. My message is more than a warning of things to come: Things are here now. And we have some time to prepare to get through, learn some survival tactics, spend some time in meditation!

One of the better qualities of humans is their resilience, their toughness and their consolidated desire to “get through it”. WeHo can show the way – if we wish.

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No, No, No
No, No, No
5 months ago

Update from today’s New York Times about the water issues of the San Joaquin Valley some of America’s richest farmlands…. Stuart Woolf, notable by ripping out his almond groves……https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/28/climate/california-drought-farming.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
5 months ago

The existing water reservoirs in California were built a very long time ago to accommodate a much, much smaller population. Environmentalists and poor leadership in Sacramento have prevented the state from building additional ones that would have stored water for the droughts we have experienced the last few years. We have let water that we could have been using now just run off for decades instead of filling up new reservoirs.

John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
5 months ago

Replace “relay” with rely

carleton cronin
5 months ago

Thanx for the edit. You have a keen eye.

Manny
Manny
5 months ago

The root of all our sustainability problems is too many users. But the local policy around here is more capacity, more density, more customers, the more the better.

Art
Art
5 months ago
Reply to  Manny

The disconnect is incredibly sad. Stop the overdevelopment NOW!

Ruth Williams
Ruth Williams
5 months ago
Reply to  Manny

I gave up asking “what about the infrastructure” or sun-light, or just simple breezes all being affected by the huge developments. I’ve often kidded Steve Martin about getting a bulldozer and just take it all down. Steve commented years ago about Santa Monica Blvd becoming a canyon.

Randy
Randy
5 months ago
Reply to  Manny

With an enormous housing shortage, which we’ve all known has been going on for years, you are advocating less housing? That means more people on the street, and just another thing for NIMBYs to complain about. You cannot just put a boarder around LA County and not expect people to come in. And I’m not even sure if we are having more people moving out (because of high cost-of-living, and COVID job-losses), or more people moving in, at this point. Regardless, we have an enormous housing shortage, which is due to the existing population, which has resulted in more homeless,… Read more »

Sinking Fast
Sinking Fast
5 months ago
Reply to  Randy

Randy, what you appear to not recognize is that beyond or before the water/housing conversations/arguments is a lack of personal responsibility and development of good sustainable habits necessary for anyone in any location in any culture. Recognition of and respect for all resources is the same as recognition and respect for all people. It is the very foundation of exercising good judgement and correct behavior. This is not restricted to any group, people, individual or location. Some folks learn these demonstrable tools for life and make a positive impact in our otherwise lazy and wasteful society. This is an element… Read more »

Randy
Randy
5 months ago
Reply to  Sinking Fast

I did not dispute anything Carl said. I have no expertise. I was debating Manny’s comment, specifically, about the “root of all our sustainability problems is too many users.” Good sustainable habits, I completely agree with, which is why I questioned if he had lawns to water vs. water-tolerable outdoor space (perhaps he does, on the latter, I don’t know). So please don’t tell me “I don’t recognize it.” My argument, again, is that we cannot control the population increase or decrease. The market will drive that. The new developments are slowly building us out of a housing crisis, which… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Randy
Sinking Fast
Sinking Fast
5 months ago
Reply to  Randy

Thanks for the response Randy. At least we are in agreement on a few points but beyond that the overarching challenge is changing the habits of people concerning population and their relationship with finite resources and their use. Without including that combination we will be faced with an eternal housing crisis as we are consuming our way out of available resources. Putting sustainability in all sectors ahead of profitability may help to achieve some marginal stability. It is a long and slow process. Indigenous people that live close to the land have known many of the answers but their resources… Read more »

Randy
Randy
5 months ago
Reply to  Sinking Fast

I think we agree on most points. I’m just pointing out that development is not the leading causation of this problem. We have a massive housing shortage. The people are already here. I am fully on board for water conservation, and everyone doing their part. That would include in-home use, but also replacing some grass with water tolerant material. Those massive lawns in Beverly Hills, that are completely unnessary. And Bill Maher had an interesting perspective on last week’s show. It is astounding how much water is used, just to grow almonds. I believe he said it is comparable to… Read more »

Sinking Fast
Sinking Fast
5 months ago
Reply to  Randy

Lynda & Stewart Resnick at home on Sunset Blvd. Beverly Hills, billionaires owners of The Wonderful Company producing POM Wonderful, all the almonds and pistachios you can eat, importing Fiji Water, Teleflora, Landmark Wines. Starting with The Franklin Mint a company producing bogus reproductions of notable items that offered customers “emotional satisfaction” but no real value. Now they have a substantial amount of our water resources by the throat. We should look to them to supply us with facsimiles of water.

Randy
Randy
5 months ago
Reply to  Sinking Fast

Yes, and it takes 2.3 gallons of water to make ONE single almond! That State should subsidize these farmers, and get them to grow another crop. Almond production uses the same amount of water as the entire City of Los Angeles, over three years (no joke).

https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/01/almonds-nuts-crazy-stats-charts/?fbclid=IwAR1wfjxxQXt2gGcGTrHFy0HeQ3JCTFam83LnouWyeHvGw33kqw_7Yv43iVM

Yup
Yup
5 months ago
Reply to  Randy

I recall reading those statistics some time ago. The Un-Wonderful Resnicks could perhaps be encouraged to act with more responsibility towards fellow residents of California regarding this issue. While that is the ultimate wish I have little faith would happen but one can only try. Years ago Lynda Resnick’s landscape designer Mark Rios was called to testify at a municipal hearing in Beverly Hills regarding planting an orange grove in her from yard on Sunset. Not satisfied that he was up to the task, she inserted herself into the hearing and micro managed everything. A relentless being of self interest… Read more »

TomSmart
TomSmart
5 months ago

If we don’t have the water, we should stop new developments.

Dr MeowMeow
Dr MeowMeow
5 months ago
Reply to  TomSmart

I agree. Let’s start with hotels. Let’s save our resources for people who live here and the businesses they run and support. It’s not just water. Hotels require electricity and food too. Sadly the city won’t stop its lust for hotels. They’ve banned short term rentals so they can get all the money from hotel taxes. It’s basically City Hall and hotels vs. homeowners.

Randy
Randy
5 months ago
Reply to  TomSmart

No, we should pay out the Almond-growing industry, which consumes as much water in one year as does the City of Los Angeles in 3 years! Not a joke. Get them to grow something else. That one move would take us out of this drought.

https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/01/almonds-nuts-crazy-stats-charts/?fbclid=IwAR1wfjxxQXt2gGcGTrHFy0HeQ3JCTFam83LnouWyeHvGw33kqw_7Yv43iVM

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