El Niño wet weather preparedness was the topic of discussion at last night’s meeting of the Environmental and Sustainability Committee of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Chuck Turhollow, engineer at the Bureau of Sanitation, urged residents to get prepared for the rains by cleaning out drains and gutters around your property so water can flow freely. Mr. Turhollow reviewed the sanitation department’s annual efforts to do the same around the city. He said his department was charged with moving rain water out to sea as quickly as possible when it was created years ago. Now, the city is developing programs to capture the water so it can percolate down and replenish the groundwater. However, since most of the city is paved with impermeable materials, the department is forced to send much of water into the sewers and out to sea.
Once it starts to rain, Turhollow said, residents need to secure objects that might get washed away during a storm. He explained that trash cans have been lifted by running water and then tip over onto the street, filling the catch basins at every street corner with debris that can cause flooding. If it’s trash day and it’s raining, don’t put our your trash. Wait until it stops raining and call LA Sanitation at (800) 773-2489 for trash pick up.
In a partnership with the Department of Water and Power, the Sustainability Committee of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council will be launching a small pilot program to help high-use water users better understand their consuming habits and find ways to conserve water.
“It turns out, a lot of the top 1% of water users are within the GWNC boundaries,” said Committee chair Julie Stromberg. “If you volunteer for this program, the LADWP will do an audit of your water usage.”
The program will run for 180 days to see if consumers can see the difference in their bills. Stromberg said she hopes to repeat the program in the summer. The Committee will officially launch the effort at the GWNC’s December meeting next Wednesday, December 9. People interested in volunteering for the program can send an email to the committee at email@example.com.
Cathy Roberts, committee member, is developing plans for a garden tour for the late spring to showcase sustainable, drought tolerant gardens. She wants to find the right balance in the number of gardens and develop criteria for selecting the gardens to feature, as well as a possible partnership with Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council.
Julie Stromberg was recently appointed by CD4 Council member David Ryu to serve on the city’s Community Forest Advisory Committee and hopes to help build a strong alliance among other neighborhood councils.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m., the next meeting is scheduled for March 1, 2016 when Kathleen Beall will make a presentation on new building and plumbing codes.