From Juliet McKenna, another example of the lengths to which southwestern municipalities will go to adapt to shrinking water supply:
LA’s plan calls for building one of the country’s largest groundwater treatment systems at one of its largest Superfund sites. Groundwater in the San Fernando basin has elevated levels of chromium, perchlorate, nitrates, and trichloroethylene — the result of decades of industrial operations. Ultimately, the two required treatment plants are expected to be operational by 2022. By 2035, the utility expects that this treated groundwater can be used to reduce the amount of water it imports by a factor of one-half.
Building treatment plants is a costly proposition, but the alternative — relying on imported supplies — is no bargain either. MWD’s water wholesale delivery rates, which have nearly doubled since 2006, will approach $900/AF in 2014. The project will be funded by ratepayers through low-interest bonds.