The current drought conditions have resulted in water conservation mandates at both the State and local level. Here in the City of Los Angeles, the mayor has issued Executive Directive #5, which calls for major reductions in water usage for both City departments and City residents. The Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP), being one of the largest landowners in the City, has the potential to hugely impact water conservation.

How has RAP saved water over the past several years?

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Reduced potable water usage by more than 30%

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Initiated City Parks smart irrigation retrofit program

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Recycled water program

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Installation of Synthetic Fields.

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Use of regionally compatible trees and plants

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Replacement of turf

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Developed RAPStat system

RAP accomplishments and goals under the Mayor’s Directive #5

The Mayor’s Executive Directive #5 spells out in great detail what various City departments are required to do during the current drought crisis.
RAP’s accomplishments and goals follow:

10% Potable Water savings identified. Under Directive #5, RAP is required to achieve a 10% savings in water consumption when compared to that of FY 2013/2014. For Fiscal Year 2014/2015, RAP has identified water-saving projects that have been completed as well as projects that are projected to be completed. These savings are due to the following: implementation of recycled water at parks and golf courses, reduction of turf, installation of synthetic turf fields, and system-wide irrigation shutdowns during periods of rain or cloudy weather. Using these methods, RAP has identified savings in excess of the required 10%.

In conjunction with DWP/BOS, develop plan to convert 85% of RAP public golf course acreage to recycled water by 2017. Also determine feasibility of converting all golf courses to 100% non-potable water.

With GSD, initiate a turf replacement program at appropriate municipal buildings using all available rebates and incentives.

Limit water use to only that needed to maintain health of trees, shrubs, and turf used in recreational areas

Why are trees so critical in the City of Los Angeles park system?

Throughout the City, trees, perhaps more than any other feature, are what uniquely define our park facilities and our park experience. With an estimated 340,000 trees in our park system, and with an extremely diverse representation of over 450 different species, our inventory of trees is an invaluable asset. RAP is committed to caring for and safeguarding the health of our trees, which includes providing them with sufficient water and maintenance to promote their well-being. Every dollar invested in tree care results in an estimated $6.15 in environmental benefits to the City of Los Angeles

Estimated quantity benefits
  • Weight of carbon dioxide sequestered: 37,000 tons
  • Weight of pollutants removed: 197 tons
  • Storm water intercepted: 350 million gallons
Estimated dollar values
  • Air quality benefits: $10.5 million
  • Value of intercepted storm water: $626,000
  • Property value and related increases: $9.2 million
  • Total replacement value: $2.2 billion
  • One dollar invested in tree care = $6.15 in environmental benefits for the City of Los Angeles

MyTreeKeeper – interactive site containing detailed information related to trees in the park system.

Partners in Water Conservation

RAP works closely with Mayor Garcetti’s office, other City departments, and non-profit groups to leverage and share resources

The Mayor’s office is instrumental in providing guidance and in developing Citywide goals and directives. Their website also provides water savings suggestions. (Click here to visit website)

Work with other City departments, including the Department of Water and Power, the Bureau of Engineering, and the Bureau of Sanitation, involves projects focused on developing and implementing parks as well as storm water and water conservation projects. (Click here for details)

RAP has also developed vital and on-going relationships with our non-profit partners (including LAPF, TPL, LANLT, LANI) to emphasize sustainability and best management practices in creating new parks and revitalizing existing parks (Click here for details).

Additionally, RAP plays a critical role in participating on various committees, such as the Water Cabinet, the One Water Steering Committee, and the Green Streets Committee (Click here for details).