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Danger in Droughtsville: CA’s Urban Water Is at Risk



The Los Angeles Aqueduct, which brings water from the eastern Sierra Nevada, is a major source of water for LA. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
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Droughtsville, California, is in trouble.

Erica Yee CalMatters

Erica Yee



Its water supply is endangered as multiple crises intensify: worsening droughts, competition for scarce supplies, sea-level rise, groundwater contamination, earthquakes, wildfires, and extreme weather. All of these factors, and more, threaten Droughtville’s ability to provide clean water to its residents.

The city is fictional, but the threats are not.

A typical city in California faces multiple stressors that put drinking water supplies at risk — drought just happens to be the focus now. Huge volumes of water are transported hundreds of miles to Southern California and Bay Area cities via aqueducts. Other municipal water is stored underground in aquifers, potentially susceptible to contaminants and seawater invasion. And the intricate network of treatment plants and pipelines that carry water to people’s faucets is vulnerable to an array of natural and human-made threats.

CalMatters delved into the details of what scientists and planners have determined could jeopardize the water supply of a typical California city — and some potential solutions.

For the problems and possible fixes, click on this CalMatters link.


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