Friday, May 16, 2008

Could Gaza Be Saved?

Saved from its sewerage problem, that is, the one that had a British commentator, Johann Hari, smelling sh*t.

L.A. prepares massive water-conservation plan

With vital and often-distant water sources shrinking, Los Angeles officials today will revive a controversial proposal to recycle wastewater as part of a plan to curb usage and move the city toward greater water independence.

The aggressive, multiyear proposal could do much to catch the city up to other Southern California communities that have launched advanced recycling programs...residents would be urged to change their clothes' washers, and new restrictions would be placed on how and when they could water lawns and clean cars.

Financial incentives and building code changes would be used to incorporate high-tech conservation equipment in homes and businesses. Builders would be pushed to install waterless urinals, weather-sensitive sprinkler systems and porous parking lot paving that allows rain to percolate into groundwater supplies.

..."This is a radical departure for the city of Los Angeles," said Department of Water and Power General Manager David Nahai. "I think overall this plan is going to be a beacon for other cities."

In fact, cities facing the same challenges, including Long Beach, have already moved to curtail residential and commercial water usage and punish waste. Orange County and other Southern California agencies are also recycling treated sewage water back into the drinking supply.

Los Angeles' plan -- a copy of which was made available to The Times -- would invest in projects to capture and store rainfall and clean up a sprawling, contaminated water supply beneath the San Fernando Valley. About $1 billion would be allocated for reclamation, including a politically sensitive plan to use treated wastewater to recharge underground drinking supplies serving the Valley, Los Feliz and the Eastside.

A similar system was approved and built in the 1990s, then abandoned after critics labeled it a "toilet-to-tap" scheme.

The city learned from its earlier "aborted attempt" at water recycling, Nahai said.

"This is a new day," he said. "We have new technology. We're going to reach out very aggressively to the public and engage them as to the facts."

One critic said voters should decide whether the water supply will be blended with treated wastewater. "It's grossly unfair for the mayor, the City Council or the DWP to decide consumers are going to be using this recycled water," said Gerald A. Silver, president of Homeowners of Encino.

But Millie Hamilton, an Encino Neighborhood Council member and docent at the city's Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, said recycling is safe, needed and nothing new. "There is no new water on this planet," said Hamilton, who was referred to The Times by the mayor's office. "We are drinking the same water the dinosaurs drank. All our water has been and is being recycled."

Does this read a bit crappy or can it work?

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