Los Angeles is running out of time to solve water crisis. Are leaders willing to act?

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On a clear afternoon recently, Mayor Eric Garcetti looked down at the Hollywood Reservoir from 1,200 feet in the air.

“It’s as low as I can ever remember it being,” Garcetti said of the reservoir from the back seat of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power helicopter. “You can see the bathtub ring.”

The aerial survey of L.A.’s water infrastructure came at a critical moment. Over the last decade, the city has made significant investments in its future, including major projects to expand its ability to capture, store and recycle water. But now, on the eve of an election, much of the work remains unfinished — with target dates for some major water projects set as far as 2050.

With the city facing what is sure to be one of the hottest, driest and most challenging climate eras on record, it is essential that its next leader sees the work through to completion, Garcetti said.

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