Vice President, Heal the Bay
Pollution in the oceans © ChristopheLaunay

© ChristopheLaunay

The Inertia

As a surfer, I see firsthand how the ocean’s tribe of watermen and women is consumed by the ebb and flow of the sea. We constantly check forecasts to see when the next swell might arrive, we take sunrise drives down PCH looking for surf, and scout webcams over lunch to see what we’re missing while at the office. Water is at the top of our minds for recreation. But many of us take for granted the fact that after a chilly offshore winter surf session, we have warm water showers to heat up, and that in most parts of California the faucet flows without interruption – drought or not.

But, where does our water come from? Especially in a large city like LA? And if you’re feeling silly that you don’t know the answer, most Angelenos don’t either.

And that’s why organizations like Heal the Bay exist. At the moment, Heal the Bay is up for a competitive $100k grant through LA2050 to launch the “Dropping Knowledge” project – a grassroots community outreach and education campaign focused on local water. We can’t expect people to be part of the solution to our water woes if they don’t understand the problem.

With California’s record drought and our costly and uncertain reliance on importing over 80% of Los Angeles’ water supply, Heal the Bay wants to provide diverse communities throughout LA with the tools and information they need to create a sustainable water future. If Heal the Bay wins the LA2050 grant they’ll team up with powerful community partners to saturate the region in English, Spanish, and Korean, enhancing Angelenos’ understanding about LA’s dependence on imported water and simple, affordable water conservation strategies for homes and businesses.


The adage of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” applies just as neatly to water as it does to durable goods. The first step in fighting drought is reducing demand. For example, irrigation for landscaping accounts for more than 50% of urban water use in our arid climate. Over the dry summer, many of us have embarked on a water diet, but we need to sustain our water conserving ways. The region must also start to get serious about investing in projects that will augment supply in a smart way, like cleaning and reusing storm water, which will prevent water pollution and provide a local water source. This water challenge is winnable through public education and forward-thinking investment in holistic infrastructure projects that do a better job of using and reusing the water we already have. If you want us all to smarten up about water, then this is a perfect first step.

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