Effective Urban Conservation Efforts

Project Summary

Conservation is a critical component of moving Los Angeles towards a more locally sustainable water supply as reducing local demand for water in turn lowers the volumes of imported water which must be replaced with new local water supplies. However, there is a need to characterize the full universe of potential conservation options in order to identify the conservation practices which could best be implemented in Los Angeles (taking into consideration local climate, demand hardening due to previously implemented programs, etc). This effort would involve a literature search on effective urban conservation efforts around the world to identify the best practices that have been implemented, as well as the degree to which they have succeeded and failed.  A list of recommendations detailing which of these best practices would be most suitable to implement under the local conditions in LA County will then be compiled into a final report. 

Research Team

Katie Mika
Institute of the Environment & Sustainability, Physical Sciences

Sonali Abraham
Environmental Science & Engineering, Physical Sciences

Mark Gold
Institute of the Environment & Sustainability, Physical Science

Progress and Results

To date, this project has incorporated examples of conservation best practices from this research into a large report looking at implementing watershed-scale best management practice programs to meet stormwater permit requirements in the city of Los Angeles (City).  In addition to conservation and improving water quality, we assessed efforts occurring in the City and the region to increase the recharge of recycled water into the ground and the extraction of remediated groundwater.  The team also looked at the impacts of reducing demand in potential water supply portfolios, combined with greater volumes of locally-supplied water, on GHG emissions and energy needs of supplying LA’s water.  This research demonstrates the complex interrelationships between all aspects of urban water management on both the supply and demand-side.

Additionally, the team is looking at how conservation trends are successful in indoor water use versus outdoor water use by looking at wastewater influent flows over time before, during and after the drought. This is a strong indicator of indoor water use, and outdoor use would be the difference between total consumption and indoor water use.  They have also initiated a water conservation survey of practitioners to determine their best practices and to better understand the conservation benefits of metering other than leak detection.


Other Information of Interest

Project photo showing LA river in concrete channel


Award Year