Does Los Angeles Have Hard Water?

Jason Barrett Jason Barrett | | Region

My hair is dry and my head is scaly when I shower in Los Angeles. Does Los Angeles have hard water? Let’s explore this question and understand the characteristics of the water in the city.

Hard water can affect our daily lives in various ways, from the taste of our drinks to the performance of our appliances.

By looking into the topic, we can uncover whether the water in Los Angeles falls into the category of hard water or if it possesses different qualities.

Does Los Angeles Have Hard Water?

Yes, Los Angeles is known to have hard water. Hard water is water that contains a high concentration of minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium. The hardness of water is measured in terms of grains per gallon (GPG) or parts per million (PPM) of dissolved minerals.

The water sources in Los Angeles primarily come from the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the Colorado River. These sources naturally contain high levels of minerals, contributing to the hardness of the water in the region.

The hardness level can vary across different neighborhoods within Los Angeles. According to the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the average water hardness in the city ranges from approximately:

  • 10 to 14 GPG
  • 170 to 240 PPM

What Are the Effects of Hard Water?

The effects of hard water can have various impacts on both household and industrial settings. Here are six common effects:

1. Mineral Deposits

Hard water contains dissolved minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium. When hard water evaporates or is heated, it can leave behind mineral deposits or scale on surfaces such as faucets, showerheads, and appliances. These deposits can be unsightly and may require regular cleaning or descaling.

2. Reduced Soap Efficiency

Hard water can interfere with the lathering and cleaning abilities of soaps, detergents, and shampoos. It reduces their effectiveness and may require using larger amounts of cleaning products to achieve the desired results. This can lead to increased costs and potential residue buildup on surfaces and fabrics.

3. Clogged Pipes and Appliances

Over time, the accumulation of mineral deposits in pipes, water heaters, and other appliances can restrict water flow, decrease efficiency, and potentially lead to clogs or damage. Scaling can reduce the lifespan and performance of appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, and coffee makers.

4. Dry Skin and Hair

Hard water can leave a residue on the skin and hair, making them feel dry, dull, or sticky. The minerals in hard water can strip away natural oils, resulting in dryness, irritation, and potential hair and scalp issues.

5. Increased Energy Consumption

Scaling in water heaters and pipes reduces heat transfer efficiency, leading to increased energy consumption to achieve desired temperatures. This can result in higher utility bills.

6. Stained Surfaces

Hard water can cause unsightly stains on sinks, bathtubs, and toilets due to the minerals reacting with soap scum or other substances present on the surfaces.

To mitigate the effects of hard water, various solutions are available, such as water softeners, descalers, or using citric acid or vinegar-based cleaners to remove mineral deposits.

Why Is Los Angeles Water So Hard?

As the water flows through geological formations and interacts with rocks and soil, it absorbs these minerals, leading to the hardness.

While the exact hardness levels may vary across neighborhoods, the overall water quality in Los Angeles is classified as hard.

The water in Los Angeles is considered hard primarily because of the sources it is derived from, such as the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the Colorado River. These sources naturally contain high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium

To alleviate the effects of hard water, residents often employ water softeners or other treatment methods to reduce mineral content and minimize the associated challenges.

What Will Happen If I Cook With Hard Water?

Cooking with hard water can have a few potential effects:

  • Altered Taste: Hard water can affect the taste of cooked food and beverages. The minerals in hard water, particularly calcium and magnesium, can sometimes give a slightly mineral or metallic taste to the food. This taste alteration may be more noticeable in delicate recipes or beverages like tea or coffee.
  • Longer Cooking Times: Hard water can lead to increased cooking times for certain foods, especially those that require water absorption, such as legumes or rice. The minerals in hard water can make it more difficult for these foods to absorb water, potentially prolonging the cooking process.
  • Residue and Scaling: When hard water evaporates during cooking, it can leave behind mineral deposits or scaling on pots, pans, and other cooking utensils. This residue can be challenging to remove and may require additional cleaning efforts.
  • Affecting Texture: Hard water can sometimes impact the texture of certain foods, particularly those that require precise pH levels, such as baked goods. The mineral content in hard water can interfere with the leavening agents and affect the texture and rise of baked goods.

To mitigate these effects, some individuals prefer using filtered or softened water for cooking, especially when taste and texture are critical.

Additionally, using non-stick cookware or regularly descaling cookware can help minimize the buildup of mineral deposits caused by hard water.

Which City in California Has the Hardest Water?

The hardest water in the United States is in Ventura, California, which has a hardness of 666 PPM.

Several other cities in California are known for having generally high levels of water hardness. Some of these cities include:

  • Riverside: Riverside and surrounding areas in Riverside County often have water sources with high mineral content, resulting in hard water.
  • Fresno: Fresno, located in the San Joaquin Valley, is known to have hard water due to the presence of minerals in the local water sources.
  • San Bernardino: San Bernardino, another city in the Inland Empire region, typically has water sources with high levels of minerals, leading to hard water.
  • Bakersfield: Bakersfield, located in Kern County, is known for its hard water, primarily due to the region’s geology and water sources.
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What Is the Difference Between Hard Water and Soft Water?

Let’s compare the two right now:

Hard Water

  • Hard water contains a high concentration of dissolved minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium.
  • These minerals are acquired as water passes through rock formations and mineral deposits in the ground.
  • The higher mineral content gives hard water its characteristic properties, such as leaving mineral deposits or scale on surfaces, reducing soap lathering, and potentially causing issues with plumbing and appliances.
  • Hard water can affect the taste of water and may require additional cleaning efforts to remove residue and scale.

Soft Water

  • Soft water has a lower concentration of minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium. It is achieved by treating hard water through various methods such as ion exchange, reverse osmosis, or distillation.
  • Soft water is often perceived as more “slippery” or “smooth” due to the absence of minerals that can interfere with soap lathering.
  • Soft water generally prevents mineral buildup in plumbing, appliances, and fixtures, which can extend their lifespan.
  • It can improve the effectiveness of soaps and detergents, requiring less product for cleaning.

Is San Francisco Water Hard or Soft?

San Francisco’s water is considered soft. The city sources its water primarily from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park.

The water from this source undergoes treatment and filtration before reaching San Francisco, resulting in a relatively low mineral content.

As a result, San Francisco’s water is classified as soft water. Soft water in the city is generally gentle on skin, leaves less residue on surfaces, and requires less soap for lathering compared to hard water.

What Does Hard Water Do To Hair?

Hard water can have several effects on hair:

1. Dryness and Frizz

Hard water can strip the natural oils from the hair, leaving it dry, dull, and prone to frizz. The minerals in hard water can create a coating on the hair shaft, preventing moisture from being retained and leading to dryness.

2. Buildup and Residue

The minerals present in hard water, such as calcium and magnesium, can accumulate on the hair over time, creating a buildup or residue. This buildup can make the hair appear dull, heavy, and less manageable.

3. Difficulty in Lathering

Hard water can interfere with the lathering ability of shampoos and soaps. The minerals in the water can react with the surfactants in these products, reducing their effectiveness in creating a rich lather. This can make it harder to thoroughly clean the hair and scalp.

4. Color Fading

For individuals who dye their hair, hard water can cause color fading. The minerals in the water can strip away the hair color molecules, leading to quicker fading and a less vibrant appearance.

5. Styling Challenges

The buildup caused by hard water can make it more challenging to style the hair. Styling products may not work as effectively, and the hair may feel weighed down and less responsive to styling techniques.


The high mineral content, particularly calcium and magnesium, can lead to various effects of hard water in Los Angeles, including mineral deposits, reduced soap efficiency, potential clogging of pipes and appliances, dry skin and hair, and increased energy consumption.

Understanding the impact of hard water is essential for maintaining plumbing systems, appliances, and personal comfort.


Thank you for visiting for the best information to help you enjoy the life-giving properties of water that sustains our health and the world around us.