Draft environmental flow recommendations for L.A. River to be released in February

Posted January 29, 2021
Treated wastewater effluent is discharged into the Los Angeles River from the nearby L.A.-Glendale Water Reclamation Plant. Water-quality managers for the effluent-dominated river have initiated a study to determine the minimum environmental flows needed to protect the river’s ecological health and recreational benefits, as managers consider diverting effluent and runoff from the river for water recycling purposes.

A research team that has been working for the past two years to determine the minimum environmental flows needed to protect the Los Angeles River’s ecological health and recreational benefits is preparing to release a draft set of final flow recommendations in late February.

The draft flow recommendations, which were co-developed by SCCWRP, will be accompanied by the release of a set of tools that managers can use to evaluate various possible scenarios for diverting more treated wastewater effluent and runoff from the L.A. River for water recycling purposes – while still protecting the river’s beneficial uses.

The work is part of an ongoing study evaluating how the ecological and recreational beneficial uses provided by the river’s flows will be impacted as more land-based discharges to the river are diverted, reused and recycled in drought-prone California.

In recent years, California wastewater treatment agencies have been filing petitions seeking regulatory approval to begin recycling more of the effluent that they’re currently discharging into the L.A. River and other urban streams. Stormwater management agencies also are capturing more land-based runoff, further reducing stream flows.

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