The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a proposal from Councilman Mitch O’Farrell on Nov. 22 to place solar panels atop the Los Angeles Aqueduct, along with several major items that will create a citywide organic waste recycling system and improved water conservation.
“I’m proud to have led unanimous council approval of these smart, creative innovations that are needed for Los Angeles to effectively and urgently fight the climate crisis,” said O’Farrell, the chair of the council’s Environmental Justice committee. “The steps we took will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, generate clean energy over the Los Angeles Aqueduct, create a citywide organic waste recycling system and significantly expand our water conservation efforts.”
From 2016-19, the Los Angeles Aqueduct provided 38% of the drinking water supply for the city of Los Angeles. First opened in 2013, it has a combined approximate length of over 370 miles and loses approximately 10-11% of water each year due to evaporation.
O’Farrell’s proposal to place solar panels atop the aqueduct will help reduce evaporation and could ultimately provide renewable, carbon-free electrical capacity for hundreds of thousands of homes in Los Angeles.
The current LADWP power resources profile includes natural gas and other fossil fuels, which will be phased out by 2035 through LA100, a plan to create clean, renewable, fossil fuel-free energy.
O’Farrell and his colleagues also approved draft rules that will make it easier for Angelenos to recycle food scraps, an action that will bring organic waste recycling to nearly 1,000,000 households serviced by Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment. Additionally, the City Council approved O’Farrell’s initiative to significantly expand water conservation, recycling and reuse efforts, including implementation of a gray water ordinance requiring systems for new developments more than 100,000 square feet, depending on water use. Gray water refers to all wastewater without fecal contamination generated in residences and office buildings. Though non-potable, it has tremendous value as a recycled water source, and could help Los Angeles significantly conserve its potable water resources, O’Farrell said.