Los Angeles

City of LA Accused of Water Waste at Hansen Dam

The City of Los Angeles boasts more than 450 public parks. In one of them, NBC4 viewers alerted our crews to a newly seeded soccer field they thought was being water far too often.

Saturday, water appeared to be running for at least an hour on the fenced-in area that once held a soccer field at the Hansen Dam Recreation Area near Lakeview Terrace.

"If we’re making sacrifices, and to see the city not making sacrifices, it’s kind of ridiculous,” Matthew Bluhm said as he stopped during a hike near the soccer fields Wednesday.

NBC4 reached out to the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks and discovered the reseeding project on the soccer field could take up to three months and will cost taxpayers a lot of water – but the watering is not considered a waste.

"We just planted it Friday," said Ramon Barajas, the assistant general manager of water conservation for the department. "We save water more in other areas so we can irrigate areas that need to used for sport activities."

Barajas said LA Mayor Eric Garcetti gave the department a mandate to drop 10 percent of water use and that the reduction is already closer to 20 percent. During the winter months, the department even went 100 days without watering its parks to help.

At the soccer fields at Hansen Dam, Barajas explained that the running water is scattered across 20 sections of the field, each section running water for 10 minutes – a total of more than three hours, three times a day for the first few weeks and then slowing dying down as grass begins to grow.

"That’s our mission, to provide safe and clean places for people to recreate," he said.

But NBC4 crews noticed something else near the fields Wednesday – a running water fountain that appeared to have been running for so long, it had rusted from top to bottom.

"To my knowledge, it hasn’t been reported," Barajas explained. "We’ll get it fixed."

Barajas shared a mobile site where residents can alert Rec & Parks officials if they suspect water waste – m.laparks.org – the site allows you to make a homescreen icon on your mobile device, similar to an app.

He used that site to take a photo of the broken water fountain and just an hour later a crew arrived to repair it.

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