How this for weird timing: just as a $1-billion restoration for the LA River looms on the horizon and LA's Olympic dreams rely heavily the body of water as an event site, two city bureaus are hatching a plan that would "substantially" lower water levels in the river by 2022, says the Daily News. Turns out, the water that flows through the mostly-concrete channel comes from a treatment plant in Van Nuys, where it's turned from yucky sewage into, well, river water. (Up to 90 percent of the water in some parts of the river comes from this plant.) But this new, river-parching proposal would see that treated water goes through purification (making it theoretically drinkable) so it can be pumped into the ground, and then someday be pumped back up, into taps and our mouths. Doing so would create more drinking water for our thirsty city (yay!) but less opportunities for awesome water-fun (boo!).
But! The proposal is still in such early stages that no studies have even been conducted yet to figure out exactly how much water the river would lose or how much it would reduce the water level. So is it possible that LA could refill groundwater basins and still have watersports on the river? "It depends on how much river you want under your kayak," says a rep for the Department of Water and Power, which is behind the plan, along with the Bureau of Sanitation.
We can only imagine the repercussions this will have on all the many many cool amenities planned on the river, like that giant, functioning art piece water wheel, or the bike bath that's supposed to hover over the waterway. A rep did say that by the time the purification plant is theoretically built and the plan is theoretically put into action, there might very well be more water around to flow into the river, but with this drought we're in, that doesn't seem likely right now.
· L.A. River could go lower in water purification plan [LADN]
· Feds Now Recommending Best and Biggest LA River Restoration [Curbed LA]