Making Los Angeles completely water self-sufficient won't be easy or cheap. But it can be done

Despite another hot and dry year with less than four inches of rain in the Los Angeles area, we are back to our water-wasting ways. Two years ago, Californians were using 24% less water compared with 2013. This year, we're hardly conserving at all — just 1%.

Clearly, our earlier successes were more behavioral than structural. If lawn removal and new efficient fixtures and appliances had saved all that water, we wouldn't be seeing this momentous backslide. Meanwhile, our sources of imported water — from the Delta, the Colorado River, and the Los Angeles aqueduct — have all been revealed as vulnerable to politics, drought, climate change and crumbling concrete in recent years.

Los Angeles sorely needs to transform its water infrastructure. In a proactive move, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city of Los Angeles this month released the Resilient Los Angeles plan, which outlines 96 steps to strengthen the city. Among the smartest moves: reduce our reliance on imported water from the current 85% to less than 50% by 2035.

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