Quenching Los Angeles' Thirst

Quenching Los Angeles' Thirst

Dennis Avila, Bert Pineda, Taro Tokai, Wendy Yanan Wang
Evaluating Policy Options for Incentive Amounts and Financial Instruments to Increased Cistern Installation in Single-Family Homes in Los Angeles

This student led project was supported by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Luskin Center for Innovation. Any errors or ommissions are the responsiblity of the authors. 

The long-lasting drought in California led state officials and local agencies to find ways to take action in water conservation efforts. About 12% of Los Angeles’ water demand is supplied from local sources and the majority is imported from other regions. A potential source to increase local reservoirs is through rainwater capture. Rainwater harvesting with cistern tanks has been used effectively in other parts of world as a solution to conserve water. TreePeople, our client, asked us to help in their efforts in increasing the number of water cistern tanks installed in single-family homes in the City of Los Angeles.

Our policy analysis determines the best policy option to increase residential rainwater harvesting through cisterns. It accomplishes this by answering the following two policy questions:

First, what incentive amount is optimal to offer in order to induce single-family households to purchase and install cisterns? Second, which methods should be used to generate the revenue needed to pay out the incentive to single-family homeowners?