Acting together, government, businesses, and communities throughout the region have developed a newly integrated approach to managing regional water and land resources for economic vitality and ecological health. Incorporating improvements in water supply, water quality, flood protection, habitat and recreation through multiple-objective planning has led to a balance of natural and human-made systems, even with substantial population and economic growth.

The fully integrated flood protection/water conservation system, carefully managing both runoff and sediment, conserves a great majority of the region’s available rainfall. Southern California, while still dependent on imported water, now provides a far greater proportion of its own water needs than the previous generation could have imagined.

Water resources are managed efficiently, taking full advantage of conservation measures, water reuse, and local storm water supplies

Reusing household water and capturing rainwater for irrigation have become standard practices for homeowners and owners of large parcels alike. Across the watershed, stormwater is held and reused onsite rather than discharged to the rivers and ocean. Urban retrofits have increased the volume of water reaching the aquifers, helping to stabilize the region’s water supply.

Parking lots, playgrounds and other hard surfaces have been redesigned to reduce urban runoff and significantly lessen flood hazards. Many multi-purpose stormwater detention areas, large and small, provide improved flood protection and groundwater recharge. New recreational facilities offer ready access to once park-poor neighborhoods, with many parks also serving to detain stormwater.

Regional use of recycled water has expanded to parks, golf courses, and other large landscapes along with augmenting our groundwater supplies through infiltration and injection. Direct potable re-use provides another safe and accepted source of water.

Water quality in the rivers meets regulatory requirements, supporting all beneficial uses, and groundwater contamination has been significantly reduced

Cost-effective stormwater management practices by cities and industry have improved water quality in all the major water bodies of the region. Recreational beach closures resulting from contaminated stormwater runoff are only a memory. Water recreation has become increasingly popular throughout the watershed. People boat, kayak, windsurf, fish and swim at the beach, in lakes, and the rivers. Fish caught off piers, in lakes, and in the streams are safe to eat.

Native habitat is significantly increased and barriers to fish passage are reduced

Portions of the two main rivers and their tributaries are broad, soft-bottomed areas where the dry season flow meanders and wet season flow inundates. Here the rivers look and work much as they did before urbanization. In these areas, river beds are populated with sycamore, willows and other native plants. Fish, birds and other wildlife have repopulated the restored habitat. Steelhead trout swim upriver to spawn. A network of trail and riparian corridors from the mountains to the sea interlinks these protected wildlife habitats. Restored wetlands reduce flooding, improve water quality and recharge groundwater.

Landscaping with native and drought-tolerant plants is viewed by a majority of the population as the ideal for the region as exemplified in easily accessible parks and protected open spaces

Throughout Southern California, native and other Mediterranean plantings, well adapted to the region’s climate, have largely replaced thirsty tropicals and turf. This change to native and drought tolerant plantings has enhanced the regional landscape with varieties of colors, textures, and scents. Populations of native animals are stable or increasing with the expansion of native habitat and protected open spaces. Throughout urban Los Angeles, all people have walkable access to parks and trails provide recreation and linkages.

Our rivers are an asset to the region, contributing to civic pride and economic activity in livable communities

For most of their length, urban rivers have become readily visible: sycamores and cottonwoods form a tall green line seen from dozens of neighborhoods. Native riparian shrubs and trees border both sides, with pedestrian and equestrian paths and commuter-recreational bikeways on one side or the other. Periodically, the linear river plantings widen into parks and natural habitat areas.

A distinctive park marks the confluence with each major tributary. At key points, interpretive exhibits explain the history and the function of the river system. River access ways, similar to coastal access points, abound. Thousands use the riverbanks for cycling, jogging and recreation. Along some urban reaches, offices, shops and cafes line pedestrian promenades overlooking the watercourses. These controlled reaches lie outside the main flood flow of the principal channel.

Public investment and private initiative have made the river systems an urban asset. The rivers are now a front, not a back, to our urban neighborhoods. New housing, offices and industrial parks overlook riverside greenways. River frontage is a major force for urban redevelopment and new jobs.

The rich diversity of uses and character along the revitalized rivers generates civic pride and economic activity in newly livable communities.