Long Beach is groovy

If Los Angeles Department of Water & Power buildings were landscaped like the people inside believed in water conservation, Southern California would be a far better place. We residents have a way to go for that, unless you live in a city as progressive as Long Beach, whose water department, headquarters pictured above, walks its talk about outdoor water conservation.

As if further proof were needed that Long Beach is groovy, this week the City College is holding a sale of many drought tolerant plants, co-sponsored by the Water Department. Add to this, the Los Angeles Times has a dispatch from Jeff Spurrier about a thriving urban garden there.

Maybe it’s the city’s proximity to the Pacific, or simply that Long Beach selects for sanity, but unlike just about every other water agency in the region, Long Beach Water Department also gives a damn about fish.

That is reflected

The Dry Garden: 275 lawns down, 79,725 to go in Long Beach

Plaudits, not sprinklers, were flowing this week when the Heal the Bay president, a Surfrider Foundation policy director, a vice mayor and water company general manager gathered in the garden of a Long Beach handyman to ooh and aah over the salvia.

They were there to praise citizens of Long Beach who embraced the first of two rounds of rebates — $2.50 per square foot lawn converted to low-water garden — that started in April. It stands to reason that clean-ocean advocates would appreciate how important it is to check the stream of pesticide and fertilizer pollution that runs into the Pacific from lawn-sprinkler overflow. But what has dazzled everyone familiar with the Beautiful Long Beach Lawn-to-Garden Incentive Program is how citizens of this beach city have been so ready to do their part. The first day that the Long Beach Water Department began accepting applications, conservation specialist Joyce Barkley

The week that was, February 21-27, 2016

Anti-tax campaign slings shit at Calgary wastewater art, havoc in Delhi, giant of big waves in O'ahu bows out at mythic "Eddie" surf classic, Feds impersonate gangsters in haddock fraud in Massachusetts, big sugar pollution lays waste to spring break beaches in Florida, and more in this week's eclectic round-up of water stories from around the world by reporter Emily Green.

“Bullshit is just bullshit”

Los Angeles sprang from propaganda, enterprise and stolen water (or "inter-basin transfers"). An article titled Brave New LA argues that the days of villainy are behind it and "under cover of one of the worst environmental reputations on the planet, Los Angeles is becoming an unlikely model of sustainability."

God, lawn and me


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Sitting on the kitchen table is a rebate form from the local water company that I can’t bring myself to sign. Admittedly, a tidy slug of cash would be welcome for having replaced a toilet with an aquarium-sized tank with a low-flow version, and for having smothered and replaced a water-hungry backyard lawn with a mix of food and native plants that require a fraction of the water and provide many times the benefits. But even touching the rebate form feels corrupt. What kind of person expects to be paid for an act that is the opposite of sacrifice?

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