Los Angeles is running out of water, and time. Are leaders willing to act?
How long can the city afford to pay for the Water Board’s emergency plan?
How much more cost-effective is it for the Water Department to find water from other sources, such as wells?
In what situation would the City Council have to approve a new deal with the Department of Water and Power? Will the City Council take action, or leave the future to voters?
L.A.’s water supply is on life support. The Department of Water and Power (DWP) and City Council are discussing a new agreement, and with no guarantee it will be approved in time, the city is facing an increasingly dire scenario.
With water supplies running low and no federal emergency declaration, L.A. could run out of water on Monday or Tuesday if city leaders don’t act soon, and the implications are dire.
The Water Board and DWP are in intense discussions, but have yet to reach a final agreement. The board — an elected body of 11 commissioners, three appointed by the mayor, two by the City Council and the remainder by the citizenry — and the DWP — which generates $5 billion in revenues – are discussing a new deal. The DWP wants a $7.6 billion cost that includes the cost of purchasing new water supplies, building new water distribution infrastructure, building and maintaining water mains (i.e., pipes) and upgrading sewer lines.
The Water Board, meanwhile, is proposing a deal that includes $3.5 billion in revenue and $2 billion in costs, much of which would come from fees.
In the end, it’s unclear where the City Council will stand when it votes on a new deal with DWP in mid- to late June. City Council members must approve the new agreement – a move that could put the city on the hook for billions of taxpayer dollars – and then pass a separate measure allowing the council to authorize DWP to begin purchasing water from other sources, like wells and recycled water.
Here are five key considerations for voters to consider.
The Water Board estimates that the cost of