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Report Finds Weak Spots in the Los Angeles Water Grid

A "water atlas" compiled by UCLA's Luskin Center for Innovation reveals the patchwork that is Los Angeles' water supply system. Neighborhoods reliant on small providers and groundwater sources may be vulnerable.
May 30, 2015, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Katherine Johnson

Along with continuing drought, Los Angeles faces the challenges of decentralized water infrastructure. The city's "water grid" is a web of services ranging from local suppliers serving hundreds to the LADWP, with over 4 million customers. 

Put together by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, "the Los Angeles County Community Water System Atlas and Policy Guide uses maps and graphs to powerful effect to show the spectrum of these system types, and how they're equipped to handle severe water conditions."

CityLab's Laura Bliss writes, "Across the board, some 75 percent of these systems evidence some kind of supply vulnerability—whether due to their small size, dependence on a single water supply, contamination in local groundwater, or a projected increase in super hot days in the years to come."

While contaminated water isn't a problem for most residents, substandard water systems can have severe local impacts. "Individuals from disadvantaged communities—marked by linguistic isolation, poverty, and high unemployment—are more likely to suffer health impacts from drinking low-quality water than those from non-disadvantaged communities."

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Published on Friday, May 15, 2015 in CityLab
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