As an Assemblymember, Laura has taken the lead on tackling our state’s most significant water issue – management. Before being elected to the State Assembly, Laura spent five years serving on the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors, where she advocated for ratepayers, learned more about water resources, and was an unabashed champion for the environment. Laura 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 has focused her efforts making our state as water resilient as possible. She believes 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’s Water Principles:
• 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.
Laura believes that 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.
She also believes that 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.
Laura wants to accelerate the refurbishing of rural groundwater basins into sustainable use under the new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. She believes that 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.
Key Legislative Accomplishments:
• Introduced landmark water management legislation (AB 1667, 1668, and 1669) that would completely re-work the way we manage our water in order to eliminate the current severe waste and inefficiencies.
• Co-Authored SB 606 (Skinner) which would greatly improve the way we handle our State’s most precious natural resource.
• Co-Authored AB 1323 (Weber) which would create a stakeholder working group which would help reduce inefficient water use and make our system more sustainable.