Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has a water-supply plan for fresh water that would endanger city growth and city residents while risking man-made seismic activity in the San Fernando Valley.

Some Angelenos may recall videos of Mayor Garcetti enthusiastically dumping a few of the 96 million bobbing black “shade balls” deployed August 2015 at a Sylmar-sited Los Angeles freshwater reservoir. Allegedly, the “shade balls” were placed to reduce freshwater evaporation and prevent harmful algal blooms in the reservoir because scientists had previously determined the monolayer of floating plastic balls incorporated more manufactured freshwater than the reservoir freshwater saved during two years evaporation reduction! 

That theatrical Great California drought “quick fix” moment was followed by the mayor’s endorsement of a new freshwater plan supported by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Garcetti called the “Second Mulholland Moment.” 

Prompted by a 2018-issued UCLA report, the idea was to duplicate bringing more water to dry Los Angeles as William Mulholland had down by piping it in from the Owens Valley more than 100 years ago.

Basically, coordinating with Garcetti, LADWP would have to maximize local freshwater harvest mainly from treated stormwater capture and recycled groundwater that would need to be expensively de-contaminated before any use industrially or as a potable supply resource. Essentially, with such a scheme, LADWP and Garcetti have informed the public that the City of Los Angeles’ future growth is limited, that sustainability technologies like plastic shade balls and circular use/cleansing of flood and underground freshwater will eventually terminate the City’s infrastructural expansion (horizontally and vertically). They have presented local taxpayers with the dreary prospect of status quo “resilience”, and a radical Green “Second Mulholland Moment”!

UCLA and LADWP-promoted visions underpinning Garcetti’s intended geological transformations—pumping stormwater into the ground (loading) and pumping groundwater out (unloading) to satisfy urban needs and wants—is too risky to continuation of citizen livelihoods and home ownership ever to be undertaken on the vast geographical scale suggested by UCLA and the LADWP. Think: Bobbling Landscapes rather than Bobbing Shade Balls!

LADWP’s flood and groundwater recycling focus is the San Fernando Valley. 

Why? The Valley is mostly residential nowadays because industry was long-ago driven out-of-state by high taxation. Near Dodger Stadium, the San Fernando Valley groundwater geologic formations are constrained by the terrain, almost separated from downtown Los Angeles and the downstream part of the Los Angeles River Basin. So, litigious skyscraper owners in downtown won’t be subject directly to increases in local seismic events by human-induced tampering of the ground. 

Past extractive oil and gas done by pumping caused human-induced mega-problems for many Angelenos: the Baldwin Hills freshwater reservoir failure of 1963; the 1985 Ross Department Store gas explosion and, most recently, the Aliso Canyon gas blowout of 2015-2016. Geologic formations cannot be successfully choregraphed or operated like some gigantic calliope. To ensure the safety of homes, factories and all the necessary serving infrastructures, including LADWP and other freshwater-supply systems, this must not happen! 

Following seismic events, litigation will devour taxpayer-provided funds at a rate faster than potable water could flow through pipes. And, what is most notable is the initiating 200-page UCLA report never factored the potential future City of Los Angeles and other community’s use of desalinated North Pacific Ocean seawater. Garcetti, a lawyer by training and apparently a thoroughly politicized wannabe Environmental Artist, remains poorly acquainted with geological principles. He has no business supporting a “Second Mulholland Moment” because it is a wasteful academic and planning organization macro-scheme never likely to benefit the over-taxed citizens of Los Angeles who dwell and work atop the geologically unstable Los Angeles River Basin.