Key Council Committee Approves O’Farrell’s Proposal to Place Solar Panels on L.A. Aqueduct, Other Major Environmental Items

As Environmental Justice chair, O’Farrell is leading the City’s nation-leading transition to 100% carbon-free, renewable energy

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council’s Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and River (Environmental Justice) committee today unanimously approved a proposal from Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell to place solar panels atop the Los Angeles Aqueduct, along with several major items that will move Los Angeles closer to decarbonizing new construction, the creation of a citywide organic waste recycling system, improved water conservation, and prohibiting the distribution and sale of expanded polystyrene, more commonly known as Styrofoam.

“Smart, creative innovations are needed for Los Angeles to effectively and urgently fight the climate crisis, and I’m proud to have advanced several of these initiatives today,” said Councilmember O’Farrell, the chair of the Environmental Justice committee. “Today we took major steps that will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, solarize the Los Angeles Aqueduct, decarbonize new buildings, create a citywide organic waste recycling system, significantly expand our water conservation efforts, and more. I will keep pushing and fighting to bring all these policies to fruition.”

From 2016-2019, the Los Angeles Aqueduct provided 38% of the drinking water supply for the City of Los Angeles. First opened in 2013, it has a combined approximate length of over 370 miles and loses approximately 10-11% of water each year due to evaporation. O’Farrell’s proposal to place solar panels atop the aqueduct would help reduce evaporation and could ultimately provide renewable, carbon-free electrical capacity for hundreds of thousands of homes in Los Angeles. The current LADWP power resources profile includes natural gas and other fossil fuels, which will be phased out by 2035 due to LA100, the nation-leading plan to create clean, renewable, fossil fuel-free energy. As Environmental Justice chair, O’Farrell is spearheading the implementation of LA100.

Another major item approved today by O’Farrell’s committee is a directive to decarbonize new buildings in Los Angeles, with the exception of certain types of facilities including accessory dwelling units, as well as commercial kitchens and cooking facilities. Earlier this year, O’Farrell introduced an initiative to electrify public facilities in the City, an effort that is already underway. This January, the City will begin decarbonization of the Los Angeles Zoo, including covering its parking lots with solar panels.

O’Farrell and his colleagues also approved draft rules that will make it easier for Angelenos to recycle their food scraps, an action that will bring organic waste recycling to nearly 1,000,000 households serviced by Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment. Additionally, the committee approved O’Farrell’s initiative to significantly expand the City’s water conservation, recycling and reuse efforts, including: implementation of a “gray water” ordinance requiring systems for new developments above 100,000 square feet, depending on water use. “Gray water” refers to all wastewater generated in households or office buildings from streams without fecal contamination. Though non-potable, it has tremendous value as a recycled water source, and could help Los Angeles significantly conserve its potable water resources.

Lastly, O’Farrell and his colleagues also approved a draft ordinance that would prohibit the distribution and sale of expanded polystyrene products, commonly referred to under the trade name Styrofoam, in the City of Los Angeles.