In the face of a potential "megadrought," landscape architecture and water engineering in California are raising awareness about and helping with conservation. With lakes at less than 50% of their capacity, these forms of design have become crucial. The design is to capture, clean and store water in the parks and recreational areas that have been dependent on potable water for lawn and garden irrigation. “If you think about what we do, it makes no sense,” says Dan Lafferty, the deputy director, who oversees the water resources division at L.A. County’s Department of Public Works. “We import water from the Colorado River, and then we dump it on the ground.” The five-step solution involves diverting rainwater from running into the sea into a pumping station, where it is cleaned in a small water treatment plant. The water is then released into wetlands created on the outskirts of the park to undergo a natural filtration process. This water then serves to irrigate the park. Artificial lakes are also important storage tanks that capture rain water as it falls. Magic Johnson Park in Los Angeles is a remarkable example of park designed this way, transitioning from an oil storage facility operated by Exxon Mobile to a development project for Black families to a model park with joyful, aesthetically designed spaces.

Read Full Story