In Focus

LADWP Prepares 2020 Water Resources Plan

Ensuring Available Water Supply for Next 25 Years

By Sylvia Beltran

Once every five years, LADWP submits a plan to the State of California Department of Water Resources (DWR) that details how they will ensure adequate water supplies are available to meet the existing and future needs of the City of Los Angeles.  The requirement to develop an Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) applies to all urban water suppliers that either supply over 3,000 acre-feet of water annually or serve more than 3,000 customers.

DWR requires urban water suppliers assess the reliability of their existing and planned water sources, describe the demand management measures and conservation efforts to reduce water demand, describe activities to develop alternative sources of water, assess reliability and vulnerability of available water supplies, submit a water shortage contingency plan, and report on climate change impacts and energy intensity for the next 25 years. To assist with this projection, LADWP utilizes population forecast determined by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). SCAG is the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization and represents six counties and 191 cities and more than 19 million residents.

LADWP’s Water Resources Development Group began laying out the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan in 2019. They didn’t start from scratch, but needed to update the 2015 UWMP. The UWMP was the first program to go through the recently convened Water System’s Stakeholder Engagement Group (SEG), which is comprised of over 100 stakeholders and subject matter experts to support and participate in the development of various water initiatives with the goal of promoting reliable and high-quality drinking water for the City of Los Angeles. The group members represent LA and include non-profit organizations, agencies, neighborhood councils, universities, and other water policy expertise across Los Angeles.

This UWMP cycle was the first time the UWMP required a Water Shortage Contingency Plan, which details the prioritized actions LADWP would take when water shortage conditions occur as the result of drought, earthquakes, fires or other catastrophic events.

Information shared and discussed with the SEG occurred over five meetings in 2020. The discussions and feedback were proven invaluable and documented in a summary from each meeting and posted on the website for transparency and easy access. The first SEG meeting was held in person with subsequent meetings held virtually. Once all studies were completed and the findings were shared with the SEG, general information meetings were held in early 2021 followed by the required public hearings in March.

Led by Sabrina Tsui, Manager of Resources Development, the team involved in the development of the 2020 UWMP include Benjamin Wong, Supervisor of Water Resources Strategic Planning, Ahmed Jaber, Civil Engineering Associate, Arin Nayirian, Civil Engineering Associate, and Sara Mouakkad, Civil Engineering Associate.

The UWMP goes before the LADWP Board of Commissioners in May for approval and will be submitted to the State of California Department of Water Resources by July 1, 2021.

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