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DWP doesn’t support single family graywater usage in Los Angeles

Projected LADWP rates for FY 2016-2017 compared to other California water districts
Projected LADWP rates for FY 2016-2017 compared to other California water districts

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Recently, the DWP proposed a tiered water rate hike that, if approved, will bump the average customer’s combined water and power rates to 3.4% every year, or $4.75 a month every year, for five years.

If customers want to cut down on their water usage even more than they already might have, gray water might be an option.

Gray water is gently used water that comes from your bathroom sink, bathtub, shower, and laundry machines. It’s not water that’s been contaminated with waste, as in, that which comes out of your toilet, dishwasher or kitchen sink. The beauty of gray water is that, once piped into your yard, your fruit trees and plants can receive this water that would otherwise be treated and then, ultimately, returned to the ocean.

Gray water is legal in California, and installation is fairly easy and ranges in its affordability. But the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) has its concerns about gray water.

For example, what if people use bleach in their wash, or other contaminants like dirty cloth diapers. There’s also the issue of people using more water because by doing so, their garden will receive more water. But, the DWP offers rebates on gray water systems for multi-family units, like apartments, and commercial properties. Why?

Is there a way that the DWP could get behind incentivizing single family homes to use gray water? Do you use gray water? Are you seeing cost savings? How’s the garden looking?


Laura Allen, Founder of Greywater Action

Marty Adams, Senior Assistant General Manager of the Water System, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power