L.A. Recreational Water Use By the Numbers

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Recreational Water Use in L.A., by the numbers.

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On this week’s DnA, we talked about Slide the City, a 1000-foot, pop-up Slip N Slide, that will hit downtown Los Angeles for one day in September (pending approval). The proposed installation set off a deluge of drought-shaming, prompting DnA to ask why, given that gazillions of gallons of water are poured on other forms of water-based leisure, from water parks to private swimming pools, not to mention amusements that indirectly gulp down potable water, like golf.

While Southern California certainly can’t afford to waste any water given that 99.8% of the state is in the midst of a ‘severe drought,’ just how sinful is Slide The City (estimated to use up to 20,000 gallons in its one day, an amount organizers say they will recycle and reclaim)?

The graphic below compares its water consumption, relative to other water-guzzling leisure activities.  Should we be careful of environmental moralizing? And in a drier future, where will we go to cool off?

Listen to the discussion (audio above) with DWP’s Penny Falcon, LA Times editorial writer Kerry Cavanaugh, Slide The City owner TR Gourley, leisure consultant Eric Hansen, geographer Joseph K. Lee and Boom Editor Jon Christensen.

And don’t forget water parks. While they claim to recycle 95% of the thousands of gallons they use each day, they reportedly throw out about 20,000 gallons daily, which is equal to the upper estimate of what Slide the City will use in one day.

And just to visualize exactly how Slide the City’s one-time water use compares with the amount that the average family of four would use in one day and how much a golf course uses each day, see the chart below.

A family of four’s 356 gallons of water used each day doesn’t even appear on the graph (although you can see it when you put your mouse over the graph).

Which raises an important question: Why don’t we all just go to the beach?

For more on Slide the City, click here.

Average Angeleno Water Use: LADWP

Slide the City Estimate: Slide the City

43,123 Pools is a number derived from The Big Atlas of L.A. Pools ** It includes pools between the Hollywood Hills and San Pedro, meaning there are likely many thousands more in the Valley.

Evaporation: Los Angeles Times

Golf Course: Audubon International

Infographic by KCRW’s Megan Gersch.