If Los Angeles seeks to increase its reliance on local water sources it could severely reduce the Los Angeles River’s water levels and negatively impact its plant and wildlife, according to a study released Tuesday by UCLA.

“What we’ve learned is that the L.A. River can’t be everything to everyone all the time,” said Katie Mika, a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and one of the study’s lead researchers.

Using water from the river as a local source for the population could also undo efforts to revitalize it and return it to a more natural state, including a $1 billion revitalization proposal by city leaders and the Army Corps of Engineers, the study’s researchers noted.

“With such tremendous local, state and federal investment and interest in the Los Angeles River, this study is essential for leaders to determine the future of its watershed, the river and its tributaries,” said lead researcher Mark Gold, UCLA’s associate vice chancellor for environment and sustainability.

The study found that if Los Angeles reuses all of its recycled water without discharging it to the river, it would lead to a nearly dry river for much of the year and have a major impact on recreation and aquatic life.

The study also recommended the city take several actions to increase its supply local of groundwater, recycled water and stormwater runoff, including new green infrastructure projects could result in more stormwater capture, and an expansion of the Low Impact Development ordinance that requires developers to capture water for reuse or infiltration.

–City News Service

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