In honor of Tap Water Day, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is excited to announce that Los Angeles Councilman Paul Krekorian is introducing a pledge to make L.A. the first Blue Community in the United States today.
What is a Blue Community?
Blue Communities support the idea of a water commons framework, recognizing that water is a shared resource for all, by passing resolutions that:
1) Recognize water as a human right.
2) Promote publicly financed, owned, and operated water and wastewater services.
3) Phase-out the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities and at municipal events.
The Council of Canadians, the Blue Planet Project and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) initiated the project in 2009. The Blue Communities movement has grown internationally with 21 cities and towns including Paris, France, Berlin, Montreal, and more going “blue.”
Why is Los Angeles taking the Blue Community pledge?
The City of Los Angeles is taking the pledge because Angelenos value water as essential to life and know that water must be managed sustainably to protect all of our residents and environment. Have a look at L.A.’s: Green New Deal which outlines the many ways L.A. is already on its way to achieving the Blue Community principles.
1) LADWP provides water to all households in Los Angeles. The tap water quality exceeds state and federal drinking water standards. The agency is working hard to ensure all those in need of rate adjustments and transient provisions are supported.
2) LADWP is the largest municipal water agency in the United States. Along with the Bureau of Sanitation, these agencies are publicly-owned and financed. Their boards are appointed by elected officials and they answer directly to the City Council. Moreover, the source of this water is protected in partnership with local community groups, like the Mono Lake Committee, that are protecting upper watershed ecosystems.
3) The City of L.A. is also doing its part to deal with the global plastics crisis by taking the pledge. Every minute, a million plastic bottles are bought around the world and over 90% of them will not be recycled. The waste clogs our drains, streams, coastlines and oceans breaking down into dangerous pollutants. In addition to waste, the bottles that are recycled cost our municipalities up to $100 million annually (Staley & Kantner 2016). That’s after consumers spend approximately $9.47 a gallon, compared to tap water at $0.05 cents a gallon (Food & Water Watch 2018). Moreover, the high price fails to ensure high quality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has more stringent water quality monitoring controls in place than its counterpart at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, which regulates a small portion of bottled water sales as a food product.
The City of L.A. is leading municipalities with 21st century water commitments by taking the Blue Communities pledge. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) is honored to work with the city and the Blue Communities project to make this pledge a reality. LDF strives to ensure the long-term health and well-being of life on Earth. Our water program stands by the Blue Community principles and plans to support Los Angeles as just the first of many communities taking the pledge across the United States.