The LADWP UWMP is only occasionally accurate.

DroughtMath is doing fantastic work analyzing LADWP’s Urban Water Management Plan.  The slides are great.  I love this sort of analysis, and read every post.  This isn’t my bailiwick, but I have some vague thoughts on the management plan process.

  • DWR does not “vet” UWMPs for accuracy, because that would require the sort of work that DroughtMath is doing.  To my knowledge, DWR checks the plans for completeness, not accuracy.
  • NRDC’s suit is very appropriate.
  • I have no reason to think LADWP’s UWMP is an outlier.  I don’t know firsthand, but suspect most UWMPs are equally aspirational.
  • Lois Henry’s column a couple weeks back is a beautiful example of the difficulty of getting solid answers to questions about water availability for development.
  • Somehow, cities keep not running out of water.  I don’t think that is because of the good work in their UWMPs.  I attribute that to the surprising amount of slack we’ve had to work with, but that comes from a legacy of substantial water waste.  Getting better (decoupling water use from population) is a good thing, but that starting point is nothing to be proud of.


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One response to “The LADWP UWMP is only occasionally accurate.

  1. I am freaking out about LA’s 2015 UWMP. It’s a total sham. As Drought Math has pointed out, the UWMP is “a thinly disguised effort to hide the city’s low water supply levels from the planning process to protect development.” The City will continue to approve massive projects, using the UWMP to pretend that we’re up to our necks in water. In fact, the water is only about up to our knees, and if overdevelopment continues we may find we don’t have enough to even get our feet wet. Knowing how LA City government works, and realizing that the general public has no idea what’s happening, it seems clear the DWP Board will approve this fictitious assessment of our water resources.

    I’m not a water expert. My blog ( deals with LA in general, and I don’t understand these issues the way you and DroughtMath do. But I do know that development in LA is out of control, and that the City is giving away much more water than we actually have. Obviously the DWR is not going to call attention to the flaws in LA’s (or any other city’s) UWMP. Are there any professionals in the field who might speak out about this? Or any environmental groups that might raise the alarm? Research by Columbia University and the American Meteorological Society indicates that snowpacks in the Sierras and the Rockies will continue to decline for the foreseeable future. The LA Aqueduct was closed for six months last year. Half of the wells in the San Fernando Valley have been closed due to contamination. Still LA’s bureaucrats and elected officials keep spinning fairy tales so they can keep their developer buddies happy. And they don’t seem to care about the long term consequences this will have for the people who live here.

    Sorry to rant, but I am feeling kind of hysterical. Is anybody out there going to call these people on their lies?