Spring 2014


California’s current three-year drought has been one of the most severe in over a century, and is getting worse. The state’s final snowpack measurement registered at just 18% of average. Following his declaration of a drought State of Emergency on January 17, 2014, Governor Brown recently issued a new Proclamation that continues the State of Emergency and calls for additional actions to lessen the impacts of the drought. The Governor’s proclamation is asking all California residents to avoid cleaning hardscapes with water, turn off decorative fountains, take our cars to car washes that recycle water, and limit our outdoor watering to two times per week. He has also rejected any Homeowners Association (HOA) landscaping guidelines that do not allow for outdoor water conservation.

As we enter into the summer months, it is extremely important for everyone to continue to find ways to reduce their water use. With little or no Northern California water, Southern California will be relying almost entirely on our supply from the Colorado River water and from water in storage. By conserving as much as possible this summer, we can extend the amount of water we have available in storage and give ourselves the best chance of beating this drought. For more information about the drought, water saving tips, strategies and incentives available, visit www.saveourwater.org, and www.bewaterwise.com


Make every drop count! West Basin’s free rain barrel program provides residents a way to use water resourcefully – especially during this time of drought. Collecting and reusing rain water reduces the amount of water flowing into storm drains, sewers and local waterways, and ensures that every drop of water is being used efficiently.

Rain barrels will be distributed at local events to pre-registered participants only and participants will be notified of future event dates. Limit two per household while supplies last. For more details and to register to receive your free rain barrel, call the South Bay Environmental Services Center at 310-371-4633.


West Basin is encouraging residents to take out a portion of their lawns and replace them with native plant gardens. As a result, West Basin and Home Depot have joined forces to provide great discounts (3 plants for $10) on a select variety of low-water-use plants throughout the South Bay. Participants can receive information on water-saving soils and high-efficiency irrigation technology. Join us at one of our upcoming conservation events located in the Home Depot parking lots and help conserve by creating your own California Friendly garden! All events take place from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Additionally, a free kid’s workshop designed for children ages 5 – 12 will also be held at each event from 9 a.m. – Noon. Light refreshments and opportunity prize drawings will be provided.

Upcoming Dates and Locations

  • Saturday, May 17 – 12975 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066
  • Saturday, May 31 – 110 E. Sepulveda Blvd., Carson, CA 90745
  • Saturday, June 14 – 14603 Ocean Gate Ave., Hawthorne, CA 90250


The 2014 “Water is Life” Art Contest encourages third through twelfth grade students to create a water conservation message and illustrate it with original, hand-created artwork. After receiving more than 470 beautiful entries for the 2014 “Water is Life” Art Contest, three grand prize winners and 12 honorable mention awardees were recognized at the Water is Life Awards Ceremony on April 28, 2014. Grand prize winners were awarded an iPad2, stylus, $25 App Store gift card and a Top 10 list of art apps for kids while 12 honorable mention awardees received an iPad2 and Top 10 list of art apps for kids. Winning artwork will be featured on bookmarks and posters at the winners’ schools and local public libraries. Click here to see all the winning artwork of the grand prize winners and honorable mention awardees.

Thank you to our sponsors


The Ocean Friendly Garden (OFG) program is based on the principal of creating gardens that are aesthetically pleasing and promote conservation, permeability and retention of water. These gardens prevent urban runoff from entering the ocean, the number one source of ocean pollution. They serve as a resource that helps teach the community how to transform water-wasting lawns into California Friendly gardens by using water efficient techniques and drought-tolerant plants. West Basin has been active in the community building several of these demonstration gardens throughout its service area.

Carson Ocean Friendly Garden
City of Carson Mayor Jim Dear, West Basin Director Ronald C. (Ron) Smith and community partners dedicated the Ocean Friendly Demonstration Garden at the newly renovated Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center in Carson and invited residents to participate alongside them in the garden planting. The new garden features drought-tolerant plants that thrive in dry climates and will save up to 80% of the water previously required for landscaping.

Photo Left to Right. Back row: Beth Crosse, Surfrider Foundation; Henry Wind, California Water Services Company; John Tikotsky, G3; Paul Herzog, Surfrider Foundation. Front row: Ronald C. (Ron) Smith, West Basin Board Treasurer; Mayor Jim Dear, City of Carson; Councilwoman Lula Davis-Holmes, City of Carson

Palos Verdes High School
KABC-7’s Ric Romero featured a special story on the April 23rd “Save Water Wednesdays” segment as he visited Palos Verdes High School to film students breaking ground on the campus’ ocean friendly garden. The Palos Verdes High School garden is unique in that it will serve as a “living classroom” and a great learning source for students that maintain the garden. These gardens show the public how they, too, can conserve water outdoors by replacing their lawns with climate-appropriate garden plants.

Dr. Charles Park, Principal at Palos Verdes High Schools lends a hand with the garden.

Cal State Dominguez Hills
California State University Dominguez Hills’ President Willie Hagan and West Basin Director Ronald C. (Ron) Smith recently broke ground on another Ocean Friendly Demonstration Garden that will be located at the University’s Department of Housing. The event took place on the school’s Day of Service, where students, faculty, staff and community members were invited to come together and lend their time and skills to community projects. This will be one of West Basin’s largest ocean friendly gardens to date.

Students alongside CSU Dominguez Hills’ President Willie Hagan and West Basin Board Treasurer Ronald C. (Ron) Smith break ground on the new garden.

Would you like to be featured in our next landscape transformation feature? Please send us your before and after photos to info@westbasin.org with a note about your California Friendly garden features and how you made the change.


The Water 101 course provides a global, national and local look on current water issues. We offer Water 101 classes at two locations, Carson and El Segundo, where guests will learn more about where their water comes from and experience a tour of our water recycling plant. Reservations are required and all classes are from 7:00pm – 8:30pm. Free, light dinner is provided at 6:30pm. Please call (310) 660-6243 or email info@westbasin.org to register.


El Segundo Classes

Carson Classes

June 5

August 7

June 12

August 14

October 2

December 4

October 9

December 11


Come learn more about the importance of water as a valuable resource and the future of our water supply. West Basin offers tours of its state-of-the-art water recycling facility where participants can see wastewater purified into drinking water quality. Free tours are also provided at our Water Education Center to see how West Basin safely takes ocean-water and turns it into drinking water at its research facility. Reservations are required. Please call (310) 660-6243 or email info@westbasin.org to register.


A new milestone was reached as West Basin produced 150 billion gallons of total recycled water at its Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility in El Segundo. One-hundred-fifty billion gallons of water would serve approximately 3.7 million people for a year and if put into 1 gallon jugs, would circle the equator 10,000 times. The plant, in operation since 1995, reached this landmark at a time when California faces one of its worst droughts in history.

West Basin began recycling water following the drought of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. At that time, the West Basin Board of Directors embarked on a program to diversify its water supplies by adding recycled water and conservation efforts. The district’s current initiative, Water Reliability 2020, will further reduce our dependence on imported water by doubling recycled water production, doubling conservation efforts, and looking to provide 10 percent of our future water supplies from ocean-water desalination.

May 16-18, 2014 Temecula Valley, CA

West Basin is proud to once again sponsor four high school teams in Solar Cup 2014, the nation’s largest solar boat building program in the world. West Basin’s teams come from:

  1. California Academy of Math and Science, Carson
  2. Environmental Charter High School, Lawndale
  3. Palos Verdes High School, Palos Verdes Estates
  4. Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, Rolling Hills Estates

Through a partnership with the Metropolitan Water District, the Solar Cup is a seven-month program in which high school teams totaling about 800 students build and race solar-powered boats at Lake Skinner. Students learn about conservation of natural resources, electrical and mechanical engineering, problem solving and much more. Visit www.westbasin.org to view photos illustrating each school’s progress.

John Foley

John V. “Jack” Foley. Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Water District

There are great leaders and then there are great human beings, Jack Foley encompassed both. John (Jack) V. Foley, Chairman of the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) Board passed away Friday, March 21 after a long and heroic battle with cancer at the age of 83. Chairman Foley joined the MWD board in August 1989, representing the Municipal Water District of Orange County, and previously served as MWD Chairman from 1993 to 1998.

Foley had a long and accomplished career in the water industry serving as General Manager of Moulton Niguel Water District for 29 years and saw numerous key water projects come to fruition under his leadership. A colonel in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Foley retired after 25 years of service in 1976. Foley received numerous accolades and awards throughout his lifetime. A true hero to so many who knew him, he will be dearly missed.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email