File photo. 

Long Beach is on a mission to save its trees—trees that are suffering from the regional drought, effects of aging and an old irrigation system, such as the ones unceremoniously chopped in Bluff Park over the summer. 

Seeking to mitigate many extenuating factors, various city departments are teaming up for a new watering pilot program, which aims to preserve the urban forests using recycled water.


“This creative solution will allow us to re-establish watering our trees utilizing reclaimed water, similarly to how we currently use reclaimed water for irrigating many of our parks,” said Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine Director (PRM) Marie Knight in a statement.

The pilot program, dubbed the “Median Pilot Program” due to the median trees it is targeting, has saved over 85,000 gallons of potable water in its previous two cycles, according to the city. The program is expected to cost $40,000 once its 90-day cycle is complete.

Officials cited the program as a superior alternative to pruning trees, which caused a loud public outcry by the Yoga on the Bluff community members.


“Sustainability is the Long Beach way of life,” said Chris Garner, general manager of the Water Department (LBWD), in a statement. “[The] Water [department] is pleased to partner again with our sister departments to help save our city’s trees, while also reducing our city’s potable water demand through the use of recycled water.”

While the water department is reducing potable water demand, the Public Works (PW) department is providing logistical and operational support for the program, according to the release.

“We are excited at this multi-departmental partnership in creating this pilot initiative in the city,” stated Public Works Director Craig Beck.

“I thank our PRM, PW and Water departments for collaborating on this program,” said Long Beach City Manager Pat West in a statement. “This program will not only save some of the dying trees but also ensure we are being as water efficient as we can by using recycled water instead of potable water.”