Water is a vital resource that most Americans are accustomed to using abundantly everyday. Receiving clean water from the tap is so widely expected that discussing the origins or treatment methods of the water tend to be overlooked. Investigating your local water agency’s website is a task that is well worth your time not only because you are educating yourself about an important resource in your community, but also because you are enabling yourself to relay the information to friends and family. Who knows, you may find that there are more serious contaminants in your groundwater than what you assumed.
To better explain information that can be found in a water agency website, I decided to investigate two different water agencies: the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and Mojave Water Agency (MWA). The main reason why I chose these two water agencies is because I wanted to compare the differences of websites that represent two areas with a distinct difference in population.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP, based in Los Angeles, CA)
This website definitely contains a significant amount of information about all kinds of issues relating to Los Angeles water (and power!). Here I was able to read a brief history about LA water and learn about current water projects happening in the county. I was able to read answers to frequently asked questions regarding LA water, such as “Is the water safe to drink directly from the faucet?” or “Is bottled water safer to drink than tap water?” Groundwater and water purchased from the Metr0politan Water District of Southern California (MWD) are the primary sources of water for Los Angeles. There was also a report about the quality of LA water that gave a brief overview of the current water concerns and the levels of contaminants (arsenic, barium, fluoride, etc.) found.
It is obvious that Angelenos and city officials should be up to date with information published by LADWP considering it is concerning their local water. However, it is important for other California residents, state legislators and neighboring states to be aware of future water plans of major cities because of the impact imbalanced water distribution has on small communities and the environment.
Mojave Water Agency (MWA, based in Apple Valley, CA)
This website was easier to navigate since it strictly covered water in a less populated area. Here I was able to learn about water projects happening in the high desert, such as projects connected to the Mojave River and State Water Project. I was also able to learn that high desert water is obtained primarily from groundwater and the State Water Project, and that more water is consumed than what is available. The site offers information regarding conservation methods and outreach, not to mention the agency hosts gatherings to educate the community about their facilities and the history of water in the area.
Be sure to check out your local water district’s website and learn the details of the water that you are so accustomed to accessing with such ease. You may be surprised to learn about water projects happening in your area, or contamination that must be dealt with.
Written by Lauren, Geology major and social activist based in Southern California