West Basin Water News | Summer 2020

West Basin Committed to Serving Public During Pandemic 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues impacting the state and country, West Basin’s Board and staff remain highly committed to fulfilling the District’s mission of providing a safe and reliable supply of high-quality water to the communities it serves. In addition to safeguarding water supplies, our team works hard every day to ensure that:

Public and employee safety remains a top priority of the District. West Basin continues to implement and maintain practices and procedures that protect public health. In-person events continue to be postponed, employees are working predominately remotely, and numerous safety and health procedures have been implemented at the District’s various facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Board and committee meetings remain accessible to the public. Since March, West Basin has successfully conducted 36 public meetings via online/virtual format. The District continues to engage members of the public while ensuring that important District-wide policies and action items are being implemented.

The safety of drinking and recycled water supplies is being communicated effectively to our communities. The District placed print and digital ads in seven local news publications and created a public service announcement that was broadcast on seven different cable news channels in order to assure residents that their water remains safe and reliable.

Major capital projects are moving forward. The District continues to construct new infrastructure and rehabilitate older infrastructure in order to make its water systems more efficient and accessible to new customers.

Outreach and education programs remain accessible to residents. Many of our outreach and education programs have been adapted to offer engaging virtual education programs to residents this summer and fall.

Conservation and water efficiency programs are available to residents and businesses. Conservation and rebate programs continue to provide opportunities to community members to save water and maintain lower water bills throughout the year.

Please visit the West Basin COVID-19 page to learn how the District continues to ensure the safety of the water supply and the public during the pandemic.

West Basin Moves Forward on Workforce & Community Diversity Initiatives

In June, West Basin Board President Gloria D. Gray publicly declared the District’s ongoing commitment to support and celebrate the diversity of its workforce and the communities served by the District. Commenting on a number of recent events that have occurred throughout the country, President Gray also stated that racial bias and injustice should never be tolerated.

“As a public agency, West Basin has the responsibility to provide outstanding customer service to our customers and communities without racial bias,” stated President Gray. “It is also incumbent upon leadership to ensure that our employees feel supported, listened to and respected despite any differences.”

President Gray announced the board would be working with staff to develop and implement new initiatives aimed at further enhancing the District’s efforts in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The District publishes an annual diversity report that reflects the demographic breakdown by race and gender of the District’s full-time employees. The report demonstrates that despite its relatively small size, West Basin includes a diverse set of employees.

Since the beginning of this year, the District has offered a water conservation program specifically aimed at serving communities with historically lower participation levels in District programs. More than 500 residents have received free water-saving devices and rebates so far through the program, with a second phase of the program being planned for this fall.

On July 27, the Board of Directors voted to join the California African American Water Education Foundation, a non-profit water education organization that aims to provide urban and rural communities in California with information about water quality, rates, supply and resource management.

Other proposed measures currently underway and being implemented include:

  • Formation of a diversity & inclusion team that will discuss how the District can best serve and support its employees and communities.
  • Training for all employees, including board members, to support future outreach initiatives and programs that meet the needs of the communities served by West Basin.
  • Becoming a member of the Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE), which offers resources for developing a racial and equity plan and for collaborating with other similar organizations in the region.

Any new initiative implemented by the District will be carried out in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, to ensure that West Basin employees, customers, and community members continue to receive the appropriate levels of support and resources.

Partnering with Small and Local Businesses to Create More Opportunity

West Basin has long recognized that small and local businesses are essential to thriving communities. While the District’s mission is to provide safe and reliable water, it also understands the need for supporting local communities and economies through programs that prioritize small and local businesses.

The effects of the worldwide pandemic and associated shutdowns has forced many organizations to rethink how to conduct business while protecting their employees and customers. While some businesses have been able to adapt to the new business climate, the District acknowledges there are additional measures that can be taken to better support small and local businesses.

We are currently evaluating additional opportunities to further engage small and local businesses more directly and anticipates rolling out program enhancements this fall. Several measures under development include identifying options for creating bidding opportunities that apply specifically to small and local businesses, reviewing policies to allow for additional consideration of small and local businesses as part of the evaluation process, and updating the list of resources that are available on the District website and in other outreach materials.

In the meantime, we encourage small and local businesses to visit the District’s Doing Business with Us page to view current bidding opportunities. Interested businesses are also encouraged to verify their certification as a small business. While the District does not certify businesses as small, it does accept verifications from other certifying agencies.

Businesses that need help getting started may visit California’s small business certification website to learn more about the program and to enroll.

Reduce Your Summer Water Bills with Conservation Rebates

In Southern California, water use often spikes during the hot summer months when everyone is using more water outdoors for landscape and recreational activities. Fortunately, West Basin offers a variety of rebates that can help families and businesses save water and reduce water bills throughout the year.

To view a list of rebates that you may be eligible for, please visit www.socalwatersmart.com.

Grass Removal

Replacing a grass lawn with drought-tolerant or native plant landscapes can reduce outdoor water use by 50% or more. West Basin offers $3 per square foot of grass removed.

Late summer is a good time to begin grass removal projects, so that new drought-tolerant plants can grow and become established during the cooler and wetter fall and winter months.

Sprinkler Nozzles and Irrigation Controllers

Rotating sprinkler nozzles direct water flow to your landscape uniformly and use 20% less water than conventional spray heads. Rebates are $2/nozzle.

Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers utilize automated smart technology to optimize the irrigation of your landscape, potentially saving thousands of gallons of water per year. Rebates start at $85/controller.

High-Efficiency Clothes Washers

West Basin offers rebates for High-Efficiency Clothes Washers (HECW) that start at $85 and go up to $500 (subject to eligibility). HECWs use 55% less water than traditional clothes washers and also use less energy, meaning you will save money on both your energy and water bills.

For questions about conservation rebates, please contact Gus Meza, Sr. Water Policy & Resources Analyst, at gusm@westbasin.org or 213-500-6658.

West Basin Welcomes SoFi Stadium as Newest Recycled Water Customer

West Basin is completing the final stages of a major recycled water project at SoFi Stadium, part of the landmark sports and entertainment complex currently under construction in the City of Inglewood. The project will deliver approximately 26 million gallons of recycled water each year to the state-of-the-art stadium and surrounding areas, which will serve as the future home of the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League, and is the centerpiece of a 298-acre mixed use development featuring retail, commercial office space, a hotel, residential units and outdoor park spaces.

“West Basin is proud to partner with SoFi Stadium and the City of Inglewood to help conserve drinking water in our region by using high-quality recycled water to meet many of the stadium’s irrigation and landscape beautification needs,” stated West Basin Board President Gloria D. Gray. “This significant partnership allows us to continue advancing environmentally sustainable communities in the West Basin service area.”

The project will deliver recycled water to the following areas around the stadium property.

  • Lake Park (decorative lake & landscape irrigation)
  • Stadium Inner Loop (landscape irrigation)
  • Landscaped areas in parking lots and streets
  • Casino
  • Inglewood Transit Center
  • Other miscellaneous irrigation sites

The recycled water project is anticipated to be complete this summer.

Artistic Talent on Display in 2020 Water is Life Student Art Contest

This summer, West Basin announced the winners of the 2020 Water is Life Student Art Contest. Student artists inspire their communities to support water conservation as a way of life by creating thought-provoking water-smart pieces of art.

Nearly 500 entries were received from students throughout the West Basin service area, with one grand prize winner and four honorable mentions being selected in each of the elementary, middle and high school categories.

2020 Grand Prize Winners

Elementary School Grand Prize Winner:

Rhea Mitchell, 4th Grade, Bennett Kew Elementary School, Inglewood

Middle School Grand Prize Winner:

Susan Cho, 8th Grade, Chadwick School and Seoul Arts Academy, Palos Verdes

High School Grand Prize Winner:

Alycen Kim, 10th Grade, Palos Verdes High School and Seoul Arts Academy, Palos Verdes

For more information about the Water is Life Student Art Contest and the full list of awardees and artwork, visit www.westbasin.org/waterislife.

Back-to-School Programs

In order to serve many local schools that are beginning the school year exclusively online, West Basin is providing a number of online education resources and virtual programs to teachers and students throughout the service area. Earlier this year, the District began offering virtual field trips to the Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility in El Segundo. During the field trips, students learn about the recycled water process in a fun and engaging virtual environment.

The program has proven to be highly popular with teachers and students. Interested teachers are highly encouraged to inquire with District staff about scheduling field trips for the fall semester.

For more information and to see a sample field trip itinerary, visit the District’s Virtual Field Trip Web Page. For other District education resources, visit the West Basin Education Program Page.


West Basin Maps Out Next 20 Years of Recycled Water Projects

West Basin is developing an updated Recycled Water Master Plan (Plan) that will help guide the District’s recycled water programs for the next 20 years. The Plan’s objectives include assessing the conditions of the existing recycled water system, evaluating new opportunities to expand recycled water service, and informing the development of an updated District-wide Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that outlines capital improvement projects in the coming years.

Once implemented, the Plan will help the District begin achieving its goals of meeting existing and prospective customer recycled water demands, while improving water supply reliability in all of the communities served by West Basin.

Earlier this year, the District kicked off the planning process by hosting multiple stakeholder meetings that included representatives from organizations both inside and outside of the West Basin service area. A key component of the Plan is a market assessment of potential new recycled water demands in the region based on in-depth analysis of stakeholder data including water usage data provided by the District’s water purveyors.

The market assessment’s primary objective is to identify future recycled water demands that would allow West Basin to strategically expand its production and distribution capabilities to achieve a recycled water production goal of 70 million gallons per day (MGD). Today, West Basin produces approximately 35 MGD of recycled water, with much of the demand attributed to three refineries and the county’s West Coast seawater intrusion barrier injection system.

The market assessment will consider all types of recycled water demands including irrigation water for medians, parks, schools, and golf courses, process water for commercial and industrial sites, and other potential indirect potable reuse opportunities.

Over the last decade, West Basin has completed major treatment expansion projects, constructed several pumping stations to improve recycled water delivery, connected new recycled water customers, and adapted to changes in the source water quality from the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant.

The previous recycled water master plan was completed in 2009 (available on the website). The District anticipates completing the updated Plan by the end of 2020.

West Basin Celebrates Groundbreaking of Pilot Facility with Los Angeles

On July 13, West Basin joined the city of Los Angeles in a virtual celebration to recognize the start of construction on an important pilot facility at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant (Hyperion) in Playa Del Rey. The joint project is being conducted to evaluate innovative membrane treatment technologies that would improve the quality of the source water the District receives from Hyperion. West Basin utilizes secondary-effluent from Hyperion to produce recycled water at the District’s Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility (ECLWRF) in El Segundo.

For the past 25 years, West Basin and Los Angeles have been close partners in promoting the expansion and availability of recycled water in Los Angeles County. The District takes approximately 40 million gallons per day (MGD) of secondary-effluent from Hyperion that would otherwise be discharged into the Santa Monica Bay and instead puts it to use by producing five different types of recycled water for a variety of beneficial purposes.

During the event, West Basin Board President Gloria D. Gray thanked Mayor Garcetti and other city representatives for their ongoing support of recycled water initiatives.

“With each passing year, the need for additional recycled water sources continues to grow as Southern California seeks out new ways to reduce its dependence on imported water,” stated President Gray. “It is important that we continue to invest in and support new opportunities that serve the dual purpose of strengthening our water supply portfolio and promoting strong and healthy local economies.”

Installation of the Hyperion Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) Pilot Facility is expected to take place over the next year, followed by a comprehensive 12-month testing/monitoring program. The implementation of MBR systems at Hyperion will ultimately enable the delivery of 70 MGD of nitrified water effluent to ECLWRF. The success of this MBR Pilot Facility would further promote the use of recycled water within the region, and expand West Basin’s recycled water infrastructure into new areas of the county.

Torrance Commerce Center Teams Up on Recycled Water Project
West Basin recently completed a recycled water project at the Torrance Commerce Center (Center).  Located on the former Toyota North American Headquarters property, the Center will use recycled water instead of drinking water to irrigate the landscape surrounding three newly constructed office buildings. The project is expected to save approximately 1 million gallons of drinking water per year, which is enough to meet the annual water needs of about ten single-family households.
West Basin partnered with local developer, the Sares Regis Group, to develop a long-term eco-friendly recycled water supply strategy at the Center that not only benefits the city of Torrance, but improves water supply reliability throughout the region. West Basin will continue to explore additional opportunities to expand recycled water use as further development at the Center occurs.
The Center is the 56th site in Torrance to be connected with recycled water, continuing the beneficial practice of investing in local water supply projects that provide drought-proof water supplies. West Basin is currently working with local partners to expand recycled water supplies at six other sites at Torrance parks, schools and other public green spaces.

Summer Splash 2020 Virtual Water Education Series Wraps Up

This summer, more than 300 participants attended one or more of West Basin’s Summer Splash virtual education classes. Participants became familiar with West Basin’s water supply reliability and water use efficiency programs, attended virtual tours of West Basin’s Edward C. Little Recycled Water Facility, learned how to protect one’s home against wildfires using fire-resistant plants and other safety practices, and discovered the many benefits of transforming outdoor areas from grass lawns to drought-tolerant and native plant landscapes.

Grass removal and native plant landscaping webinars will continue to be available to West Basin service area residents throughout September. For information and to register, visit BeWaterWise.com.

West Basin is also planning to conduct additional fire-resistant landscaping webinars in the coming months. As new class information becomes available, it will be posted to the website.

Winners of Summer Splash 2020 Opportunity Drawing

All Summer Splash participants who attended both a Lunch & Learn webinar and a recycled water facility virtual tour were entered into an opportunity drawing for one of three prizes. West Basin appreciates everyone who was able to attend one or more of the District’s virtual events this summer.

Congratulations to each of the following winners.

  • Donna E. – $200 garden consultation from Armstrong Nursery Centers
  • Catherine V. – $100 gift card to Armstrong Nursery Centers
  • Karen K. – $50 gift card to Armstrong Nursery Centers

 2020 Water Harvest Festival Canceled

The annual Water Harvest festival, which is typically held in October and attracts more than 1,000 people each year, is now cancelled due to ongoing public health risks associated with COVID-19. In keeping with local health and safety guidelines, and in an effort to protect the service area community and staff, the District will not hold its 22nd annual festival. West Basin plans to bring back the popular, family-friendly event in Fall 2021.

In the meantime, please check the West Basin website and follow the District’s social media channels for the latest news on upcoming outreach and education opportunities that are available to service area residents.

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