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Reclaimed water available for L.A. horsemen

From the Newstrader - August 31st, 2011 - Newstrader

OS ANGELES – With the cost of water going up — and its availability seemingly going down – the prospect of using less expensive reclaimed water for dust mitigation and irrigation would seem attractive for boarding stables and ranchers.

So thought the Equine Advisory Committee, a Los Angeles City Council-appointed committee, who last summer brought L.A. Department of Water and Power representatives to speak at their meeting to discuss a simple idea: How could equestrians access millions of gallons of reclaimed water for non-drinking purposes?

One year later in mid-July, after a focused effort championed by EAC leader Dale Gibson, recycled water was approved for dust control at horse properties. Obstacles, including the regulatory approval from State Health officials to allow recycled water for permanent dust control for horse properties, have been cleared, and equestrians in the Los Angeles area are learning how to access the “purple pipes” made available to them by the DWP for the reclaimed water that is roughly 60 percent less expensive.

EAC board members say there is limited availability at this time, consisting of 11 fill stations located throughout the city. The good news, though, is that some of them are located in the Sun Valley and Atwater park areas where utilization via a water transport vehicle may be cost effective. Gibson, in collaboration with some other local stables and ranches, is in the process of buying a truck. Others are expected to follow and purchase a water truck, then do the training necessary for a permit to go onsite and fill up. Water trucks have specific requirements to be acceptable for use of DWP recycled water and must be inspected and approved by DWP and L.A. County Department of Public Health. Also, drivers and customers must have an agreement approved by the LADWP Board, and the drivers must also be educated in compliance with regulatory requirements and procedures.

“This is not a lengthy or complicated process,” says Lynn Brown of the EAC. “But it must be done in order to be allowed access the reclaimed water.”

DWP jurisdiction extends only to the City of L.A. Those equine businesses outside those limits can contact their own water provider/agency to explore being able to access reclaimed water for their respective businesses. The City of L.A. and Los Angeles County have each set precedents for usage that other cities can follow.

L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian is planning a workshop on this issue. Additional information can be obtained by contacting his office at 818-755-7676, or email Mary Benson at mary.benson@lacity.org.

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