This webinar, held on September 15, 2015 at 2 pm, provided participants with an overview of greywater and alternative water systems in the context of water security for food security. Participants learned about recent research detailing water regulations and urban agriculture policy in the city of Los Angeles, exploring the need for alignment between community health policy priorities and water reduction regulations in Southern California. By utilizing greywater and alternative water on landscapes, jurisdictions can prioritize water use for edible gardens while reducing overall water use.
Below, you may view the completed webinar and download the accompanying PowerPoint presentations.
Recommendations for Action:
- Develop FAQs and factsheets for the public on the health benefits of urban agriculture and the need to prioritize water use for edible landscapes.
- Promote and demonstrate hierarchy of appropriate water use. Use greywater and alternative sources for ornamental landscapes to conserve potable water for use in edible gardens. Demonstrate these uses in community gardens, particularly on health department and county or city property.
- Work with county agencies and municipal water districts to support policies that promote water and food security. Mandate use of greywater on nonedible plants on county property (including detention facilities).
- Educate policymakers on the health benefits of community gardens (as a high priority for water use), and of using greywater/alternative water techniques where possible to have more potable water available for drinking and for food. Health departments, Food Policy Councils, and community-based organizations can work together to advance the dialogue.
Urban Agriculture & Drought Policies
Listed below are links to the policies discussed in the presentations and during the Q&A and Discussion session.
Drought Response Policies
- Mayor Eric Garcetti Executive Directive No. 5 – Emergency Drought Response: Creating a Water Wise City
- Governor Jerry Brown Executive Order B-29-15
- Emergency Water Conservation Plan – City of Los Angeles Ordinance No. 183608
Urban Agriculture Specific Policies
- UA Incentives Zone Act – California Assembly Bill 551
- Curbside Planting Ordinance – City of Los Angeles Ordinance No. 183474
Pro-Urban Agriculture Statements
- Los Angeles Sustainability Plan
- Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles: A Health and Wellness Element of the General Plan
- Schedule F, L.A. Department of Water and Power
Greywater Stub-Out Policies
- Residential Greywater Ordinance Requiring Installation of Greywater Stub-Outs -- Tucson Arizona Ordinance No. 10579
- Greywater Stub-Out Plumbing Ordinance – Cottonwood Arizona Chapter 15.12 Plumbing Code
Rainwater Harvesting Codes and Policy
Below is a brief list of key resources to support you in taking action to promote water security for community and household gardens and farms. For additional resources or support, contact the Alliance’s Healthy Food Systems Coordinator, Holly Calhoun.
- Messaging – Save Our Water and Our Trees! is an example of messaging on the importance of water use to maintain an urban landscape for public health while reducing overall water use, and smart watering tips for maintaining tree health. Additional resources and materials are available from the California Urban Forests Council.
- Greywater Applications – Learn more about greywater systems, including how to install and safely use greywater systems from University of California Cooperative Extension and Greywater Action. Find out more about greywater policy from the Oasis Design Greywater Policy Center.
- Sustainable Water Use in Community Gardens – This case study on Planting Justice showcases best practices in sustainable water use for urban agriculture by a community-based organization in Oakland, CA.
- Water Efficiency Incentives and Rebates – The city of San Bernardino has information about their rebate and incentive program for water efficiency, including incentives for drip irrigation.
- Urban Agriculture Incentives Zone Act (AB 551) Implementation – This Guide to Implementing the Urban Agricultural Zone Act from the University of California Cooperative Extension provides guidance on how to implement the state law in your county. AB-551: A Powerful New Tool For Urban Agriculture, a factsheet from the Los Angeles Food Policy Council Urban Agriculture Working Group provides further information on the statewide legislation and puts it into a local context.
- Urban Agriculture in Los Angeles – Cultivate L.A., is a University of California Los Angeles Master of Urban and Regional Planning Comprehensive Capstone research project, meant to assess the state of urban agriculture in Los Angeles County in 2013.
Laura Allen is a founding member of Greywater Action and has spent the past 15 years exploring low-tech, urban, sustainable water solutions. She is the lead author of the San Francisco Graywater Design Guidelines for Outdoor Irrigation, and authored The Water-Wise Home: How to Conserve and Reuse Water in Your Home and Landscape (Storey Press, 2015). Laura leads classes and workshops on rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse, and composting toilets, has participated in state greywater code developments, and was on a committee to write a draft composting toilet code for IAPMO.
Kim Kessler is the Policy and Special Programs Director of the Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law, a newly created program dedicated to studying and advancing law and policy solutions to improve the modern food system. Previously, Kessler served as the Food Policy Coordinator for the City of New York, an appointed position in the Mayor’s Office. Kim serves on the Los Angeles Food Policy Council’s Leadership Board, and she is also the host of "Eating Matters," a weekly radio show dedicated to food policy topics on The Heritage Radio Network.
Alana Siegel is a summer fellow at the Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy. Alana received a B.A. in Psychology from Lafayette College in 2013, and is currently a JD/MBA student at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is expected to graduate in 2017. At WashU, she is the Associate Managing Editor for the Washington University Journal of Law and Policy. As a 2L Staff Editor Alana’s note, “NAFTA Largely Responsible for the Obesity Epidemic in Mexico,” was selected for publication, and is set to appear in the 51st volume of the Journal in early 2016.