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2022 Grants Challenge

Know the Flow for a Water-Smart LA!

Idea by Heal the Bay

Heal the Bay envisions a resilient water future for Los Angeles! Building on the organization’s Know the Flow program, Heal the Bay will expand its impactful water-smart programming to include: Latest information on regional water sustainability goals; An environmental justice perspective on California’s water sources and impacts of water extraction on Indigenous, low-income, and communities of color; and, Youth engagement through educational field trips to the Environmental Learning Center at the Hyperion Reclamation Water Plant.

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What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Climate and Environment

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

California continues to suffer from crippling drought brought on by the climate crisis. Water-use restrictions, including mandates imposed in June 2022, are confusing and anxiety provoking. And no one can deny the financial and environmental costs associated with importing 85% of Los Angeles’ water supply. Even with directives to source 70% of Los Angeles’ water locally by 2035 and the passage of Measure W, significant policy and behavioral change is urgently needed to ensure a sustainable water future for Los Angeles. Changing the region’s approach to water is critical, but how can we do this if most do not understand the problem? The vast majority of Angelenos have no idea where the water from their faucets originates. With this critical knowledge gap, how can any of us be effective stewards of local water resources and press for change?

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Know the Flow promotes a water-literate Los Angeles. The program informs Angelenos information about the current sources of water for LA, the risk and cost of our continued dependency on imported water, and calls for stakeholders to work with policymakers to achieve goals for local reliability. Grant funds will support the expansion of our inclusive, multi-lingual water messaging through a hybrid delivery of in-person and virtual events. Participants will learn that the water challenge is winnable through smart planning and prudent investment in multi-benefit infrastructure projects like those funded by Measure W. We can do a better job of using and re-using the water we ALREADY have. We have boiled down our educational mantra to the three key easily memorable directives: Reduce – We need to cut back on the amount of water we use as a region. Reuse – We need to capture, cleanse and reuse water, such as urban runoff and stormwater. Recycle – We need to champion advanced treatment, reuse and recharging our aquifers with treated wastewater instead of dumping it into the ocean. The updated Know the Flow program will include environmental justice perspectives on California water issues to highlight the story of water extraction and regional efforts to tackle ongoing aridification. Local youth will participate in educational field trips to the Environmental Learning Center at the Hyperion Reclamation Water Plant and Youth Summits.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Heal the Bay supports key environmental goals outlined in the City of Los Angeles’ Green New Deal and the most recent Sustainability Plan for Los Angeles County. Goals include: Source 80% of L.A.’s water locally and capture 150,000 acres of stormwater by 2045; Recycle 100% of all wastewater for beneficial reuse by 2035; Build at least 10 new multi-benefit stormwater capture projects by 2025; Reduce potable water use per capita by 22.5% by 2025; and 25% by 2035; Maintain or reduce 2035 per capita water use through 2050; Install hydration stations at 200 sites, prioritizing municipally-owned buildings and public properties such as parks by 2035. Heal the Bay also seeks to educate thousands of Los Angeles County-based individuals, including K-12th grade students, about local water issues and the goals listed above. Heal the Bay expects participants will have improved water literacy and be motivated to further engage around local water issues.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Heal the Bay seeks to expand its existing Know the Flow program to include updated messaging and field trips to the Environmental Learning Center at the Hyperion Reclamation Water Plant for local youth. LA2050 funds made it possible for Heal the Bay to launch the program in 2016, including the creation of custom curriculum and virtual assets. Since its inception, Know the Flow has successfully increased water literacy throughout Los Angeles region. During the pilot phase, Heal the Bay educated approximately 27,000 Angelenos through in-person presentations, online, at public events and fairs, and at the Heal the Bay Aquarium. All participants agreed they had a better understanding of local water issues after hearing the presentation. Heal the Bay will continue to measure impact by number of individuals reached through the Know the Flow program as well as assess behavioral change and increased mobilization around local water issues.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 4,000

Indirect Impact: 10,000