City of Los Angeles’ Water Story

What connects wildfires, mercury pollution, and dry meadows in the Sierra to Los Angeles?  Your water!

Half of the water that L.A. drinks comes from the mountains of northern and eastern California where:

  • Megafires like the Rim Fire are becoming more common
  • Historic mining sites bleed toxic substances in to the rivers
  • And meadows that act as sponges for snow and rain are drying up

Individually, each of these conditions disrupt the natural system that is the source of your water, but combined they result in challenges to your water supply that even the best local conservation practices cannot resolve.

As you deal with policy and funding decisions, keep in mind that investing in your watershed is critically important. For the last 10 years, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and our partners have been working hard to protect your water supply, but there is still so much to do.

The interactive map below will take you on a journey from your tap to the mountains that are the source of your water, and will introduce you to the major challenges that need to be addressed today if you are to continue to rely on this water in the future.


A printable version of the Feather River Watershed, the Owens River Watershed, and the system that connects them with Los Angeles is available here.

To learn more about the work that the Sierra Nevada Conservancy has done to protect the water supply for all California families, visit Investing in California’s Watershed. To explore the connections between other communities and their Sierra water source visit the Sierra Nevada Watersheds Map.