Laura has spent five years serving on the board of the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors in order to advocate for ratepayers, learn more about water resources and to be a voice for the environment at MWD. She believes our water challenges would be best served by reducing the reliance on imported water through major investments in Southern California groundwater recharge and clean-up, expanding local storage for rain and storm water collection, conservation and water system efficiency and advanced water recycling.
As a Southern Californian member of the Assembly, Laura would focus efforts on making Southern California as water resilient and independent as possible. Much more can be done to foster water efficiency and consumer conservation. Currently only the largest developments are required to incorporate water-saving features.
Laura believes we should:
• Require net-zero development, in which new development has to comply with a no-net increase in water use standard either through onsite or offsite improvements, in addition to a mandate to retain water on-site, on all new developments regardless of size
• Require that all multi-family housing incorporate individual water meters
• Create incentives to encourage the owners of older multi-family buildings to switch to individual meters
• Recycle Gray water from showers and sinks to be used for toilets and landscaping
• Incentivize more water efficient appliances and require them in all new developments.
The Orange County Water Replenishment District’s groundwater replenishment system and the cooperative system of replenishment between the LA County Flood Control District, the Southern California Replenishment District, the LA County Sanitation Districts and the MWD in Los Angeles County are models that should be expanded across Southern California. Waste and storm water should no longer be dumped into the Pacific Ocean, but instead be treated as a precious natural resource. Storm water should be captured in underground storage or in groundwater basins for aquifer recharge. Wastewater should be recycled and reused to the greatest extent feasible, and polluted groundwater basins should be cleaned so that they can store more recycled and storm water.
Agriculture is the largest single user of water in California. The State’s antiquated water rights system often provides a financial disincentive for farms to adopt advanced water saving features and mining unlimited amounts of groundwater makes wasteful irrigation practices possible. We need to accelerate bringing rural groundwater basins into sustainable use under the new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The farming communities need to share the water available in those basins more fairly with local communities of farmworkers, who are also dependent on well water. In order to make this possible, it is essential that all agricultural uses become as water efficient as possible. California needs to provide both economic incentives and rules to require water efficiency in agricultural production.