LA Celebrates Second Annual Tap Water Day to Highlight Benefits of City’s Clean Drinking Water
|LOS ANGELES — Officials from LA City and County joined representatives from various water organizations today to unveil a high-low drinking fountain and water filling station at City Hall East in honor of the second annual Tap Water Day LA. The event raises awareness of Los Angeles’ clean, reliable drinking water.
Director of Operations and Executive Officer for Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of City Services Greg Good, and Marty Adams, Senior Assistant General Manager, Water for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) were joined by representatives from the LA County Department of Public Health, American Water Works Association (AWWA), and WeTap in unveiling one of many new, city-wide drinking water stations for the enjoyment and health of all residents.
“Pedestrians and cyclists deserve healthy, delicious water and shouldn’t have to overpay for it in wasteful plastic bottles,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Water bottle filling stations allow everyone to enjoy as much water as they need to hydrate while protecting the environment. I am proud to celebrate our annual Tap Water Day, and I encourage all Angelenos to take advantage of this free resource.”
In many parts of the world, access to clean, safe drinking water is a luxury — one that many people in Los Angeles may take for granted. Tap Water Day LA reminds us all of the importance clean drinking water plays in our lives and that our city’s complex planning, treatment and monitoring infrastructure should be a focal point of our civic pride especially in light of water quality issues in other parts of the country and the globe.
“Every day, LADWP delivers 550 million gallons of the highest quality water at the lowest possible cost to our 4 million customers in LA,” said Marty Adams, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager, Water. “We want the public to know that our drinking water is protected by hundreds of employees who manage our treatment processes, operate and maintain our treatment facilities and vigilantly monitor and test the water we serve.”
The new drinking water station unveiled today is one of many that has been placed in a variety of locations in all of the council districts throughout the city where residents can fill up their reusable water bottles with clean, cool, refreshing drinking water. Free reusable, aluminum water bottles were distributed to the public at the event for a “Water Toast” with “The Drop,” LA’s Water Conservation Mascot celebrating the many benefits of pure, clean refreshing tap water.
“Water is an essential life-sustaining resource. Ensuring that all persons have ready access to safe drinking water, including water from the tap, is a public health imperative,” said Dr. Paul Simon, Chief Science Officer with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The fountains not only provide drinking water for residents, but also serve as symbols of the expansive system supplying water, which includes a state-of-the-art filtration plant, two aqueducts, three groundwater treatment facilities, dozens of treatment stations, 78 pumping stations, 114 tanks and reservoirs, 421 pressure regulator stations, and 500 miles of trunklines and a 7,200 mile network of distribution pipes.
“When a disaster occurs, like in Flint Michigan recently, we are reminded if the critical importance of critical water systems and well-trained, knowledgeable utility workers in these specialized occupational fields,” said Dr. Tim Worley, Executive Director, American Water Works Association.
Today’s celebration also serves to highlight the importance of using our vital water resources for drinking and sustaining life, not for water-intensive landscapes. Tap Water Day LA also seeks to expand awareness and the need for greater sustainability in terms of weaning the public off one-use plastic bottles that have an adverse effect on our environment. On average, the U.S. purchases and consumes over 50 billion plastic bottles a year with only 40 percent being recycled. Bottling and long distance shipping can increase the cost and result in unnecessary increases in carbon emissions. The cost of bottled water runs about $1.22 a gallon. On average LADWP drinking water costs ¢0.02 per gallon.
“We are grateful for our Los Angeles civic leaders coming together in fresh and modern partnerships as they install new water filling stations, and improve and maintain existing drinking fountains in our neighborhoods,” said Evelyn Wendel, Founding Director, WeTap. “We look forward in the coming years when all schools, parks and largely populated public spaces have a robust drinking fountain network for the health of our communities and our environment.”
Drinking tap water out of reusable cups or bottles means better health for residents, especially children who are more susceptible to sugary drinks and higher rates of obesity.
Tap Water in Los Angeles
Early in the city’s history, the Los Angeles River was the only source of water. It was distributed in open ditches and later in wooden or cast iron pipes. In 1902, the City of Los Angeles purchased the Los Angeles City Water Company, a private company that would eventually become LADWP. With the unprecedented growth in the early 1900s, city leaders had the vision to construct and complete the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913 to deliver pristine snowmelt runoff from the Owens Valley, over 200 miles away.
In 1928, LA joined with other cities to form the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a water wholesaler that brings in additional water supplies from the Colorado River and Northern California. In 1970 the second Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed to meet growing water needs. Today LADWP is the largest municipally owned and operated retail water utility in the country, serving a population of about 4 million residents and an area of 464 square miles.
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