Changing the Hydrology of the City













Departures is KCET's oral history and interactive documentary project that thoroughly explores neighborhoods through the people that live there. SoCal Focus has been taking readers through the Richland Farms series one day at a time. Follow all posts in this series here.

When it comes to revitalizing many of the waterways in Southern California, how do you do it without exposing people do dangerous flooding situations? Alex Kenefick, who works for the Watershed Council and focuses on the Compton Creek, the last major tributary to the L.A. River, and the lower Los Angeles watershed, has an idea.

"If we were to build the whole city, the whole region, over the next 100 years in a way that's connected -- blurring those lines between creek and the neighborhood -- you might see our storm water problems just disappear, with no need for a $100 million storm water treatment plant," he said.

He called it a "pretty far flung" concept, but thinks it could make a big difference. "We can change the hydrology and suddenly, 'oh, we're not going to have our 500 year flood...' We might be able to reduce that estimated event," he continued. "By making a city that's a little more absorbent, a little bit more spongy, a little softer, it's possible."

Two more interviews with Kenefick, along with one with James Alamillo from Heal the Bay, can be viewed here.

The Departures Richland Farms series is broken down into two parts as interactive murals: The Past and The Present. The above information is based on The Present's eighth's mural hotspot.

About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCET's Director of News, Region and State, working on digital and on-air news products that relate to Southern California and beyond.
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