A 16-member US delegation visited Melbourne for several days in late 2014 to learn about how the city coped with the record-breaking drought of the late 1990s and 2000s, and how those lessons could be applied in Los Angeles.
The Californian city is experiencing one of the worst droughts in its history.
“Los Angeles is in a similar situation to Melbourne in 2009, when we faced severe water restrictions, record breaking heatwaves and devastating bushfires,” Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, said.
“We responded by planting thousands of trees and expanding our stormwater harvesting capacity so we can collect, clean and reuse our city’s most precious resource.
“We are proud that our city’s investment in climate change resilience initiatives, which won a C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Award in New York in September (2014), can be used to help the people of Los Angeles and other cities across the world.”
The US delegation inspected stormwater harvesting infrastructure at a number of locations around the city.
The group included Federal Government representatives, California state and local officials, CEOs and directors of water agencies, researchers and policymakers, including Nancy Sutley, who spent six years as President Obama’s chief environmental adviser.
Chair of Melbourne City Council’s Environment Portfolio, Arron Wood, said Melbourne was the first city in Australia to develop a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
“We commenced the implementation of our Urban Landscapes Adaptation Program in 2010 to protect our people, businesses and trees after a decade of drought, low rainfalls and record-breaking extreme heat,” Cr Wood said.
“In the last four years we have spent $40 million above business-as-usual on a program of works to transition Melbourne’s urban landscapes from vulnerability to resilience. “We’ve reduced our reliance on potable drinking water through stormwater harvesting and planted 12,000 new trees.
“Both California and Victoria face long dry summers and the increasing risk of bushfires and intense heatwaves. By sharing our responses to these challenges we can continue to build resilience into our cities and show leadership in responding to climate change,” Cr Wood said.