L.A. councilman looks to leftover bath, laundry water for conservation

The drought

One of many half-inch ball valves attached to a grey water system that diverts washing machine water away from the sewer and into rear yard landscape at a home in Berkeley.

(Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

City Councilman Paul Krekorian doesn’t want the leftover water from daily showers, dish washing and laundry to go to waste. As this historic drought drags into its fourth year and public officials practically beg Californians to reduce water usage, Krekorian introduced a motion calling for new city standards that would allow more use of greywater. 

“We need to explore every reasonable water conservation option that will help us get through this terrible drought and make our city more sustainable,” Krekorian said in a statement. “Using greywater systems in homes throughout Los Angeles just makes sense.”

Greywater is almost as clean as potable water and can be used for a variety of water-intensive tasks, such as irrigating lawns and flushing toilets. Krekorian’s motion asks the city to develop standards for greywater treatment systems that would allow wider use.

Current city regulations only allow use of greywater below ground, a Krekorian spokesman said. 


Complete home greywater systems can collect up to 40 gallons of water per person per day, according to Krekorian’s motion. Los Angeles residents have used about 70 gallons of water per person per day in recent months, according to state data.

Krekorian’s motion also calls for city departments to recommended revisions to the Green Building Code that would require greywater systems for new construction and in any other “applicable circumstances.”

The motion has been referred to the City Council’s Energy and Environment Committee for review, according to Krekorian’s office.

As California’s drought lingers, state and local officials have increasingly called on L.A. to cut its water usage. Last year, Mayor Eric Garcetti urged Angelenos to reduce their water use by 20% by 2017. This month, Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order requiring a statewide 25% cut in urban water use over the coming year.  


Follow @ByMattStevens for coverage of the California drought, the Westside and breaking news.

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