Where Does Our Water Come From?

You turn on the faucet and water comes out. You turn the knobs in your shower and a steady stream flows out. We know that when we want to wash our dishes or water our plants, we can reliably expect it to come out of our tap. But do you ever wonder where this water comes from? 
If you live in the West San Gabriel Valley, you can expect most of your water to come from local sources. In fact, 80% of the water we use comes from local groundwater. The remaining 20% comes from Northern California where they receive rain and melting snow. This is vastly different from the City of LA where 85% of the water is imported. It wasn’t always that way. Los Angeles began to run out of water and companies began contaminating groundwater. Eventually, Los Angeles had to rely on outside sources of water to sustain its population. Now, Los Angeles spends $1 billion a year just to import water. 
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Image of the San Gabriel Basin from the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority
For us in the West San Gabriel Valley, we don’t have to worry about spending too much money to import money compared to the City of Los Angeles. We have mountains, hills, and flatlands that collect water into the Main San Gabriel Basin. The Basin is our primary source of drinking water for over 1 million people. Unfortunately, we have a limited amount of water. This means we need to save water where we can and find new ways to replenish local water supply. This is difficult when we have more droughts and less rain due to climate change. 
We can avoid having to increase our costs for water by importing it if we do our part to save water and find ways to capture water. We can save water by lessening the amount of time we take our showers, use a bowl of water to rinse our produce, or decreasing the frequency we use sprinklers. We can capture water by installing rain barrels that capture rainwater and provide more green space by building parks that naturally filter water into our groundwater.

To learn more about local water issues and ways to get involved, join our Sustainable SGV Coalition and meet other residents who are passionate about cultivating safe and healthy communities: bit.ly/ssgvcoalition 

See Also

Is my tap water safe to drink?

Who takes care of our water?

Learn More

What is a watershed?

Glossary