April Showers Bring . . . A New Frame of Mind – A Message from the Stormwater Program Manager

How often have we heard the adage that April showers bring May flowers? This year in Los Angeles, April showers are bringing a new frame of mind as well. More and more Angelenos are viewing rainwater as a resource to be captured and used, instead of a liability to be diverted into our storm drain system. All across the southland, we are beginning to see residents recognize not only the importance of conserving water during this time of drought, but also take creative steps to harvest rainwater for their irrigation needs.

Earlier this year, the City of Los Angeles took its own important step in moving towards a time when rainwater is harvested on properties throughout the city. On January 15, the Board of Public Works voted unanimously in favor of a Low Impact Development (LID) Ordinance that would require all new development projects to put in place best management practices to capture and infiltrate or use the first ¾” of rainwater from all storm events. The next step for the proposed LID Ordinance is review by the Mayor’s Office, City Council Committees, and full City Council. In the interim, the Bureau of Sanitation is moving forward with plans to begin developing a Low Impact Development Handbook that will outline the ordinance’s requirements and guide applicants through the approval process, and we want you on the team.

The LA Stormwater Program will be coordinating the efforts of public officials, stakeholders, private industry and the general citizenry in the development of these guidelines. We encourage you to attend the May 20 launch meeting. Learn more about how you can get involved in being part of putting together the LID Handbook by visiting our LA Team Effort Blog.

In this issue of LA Stormwater, we focus on this rainwater-as-a-resource paradigm shift that we are starting to experience in LA. We will provide an update on our popular Rainwater Harvesting Pilot Program that ended in March, and give information on the next steps for citywide implementation. With spring officially here, we will provide homeowners with information on how to create more pervious areas around their homes during home improvement project season. We will also hear from Sherri Akers, a member of the Mar Vista Community Council, who will give her unique view on this changing rainwater harvesting mindset. She provides details about the upcoming Mar Vista Green Gardens Showcase on Sunday, April 25 that features a walking tour of more than 75 California-native friendly gardens, many of which include rain barrels installed as part of our Rainwater Harvesting Pilot Program.

In this era of diminishing water supplies and increasingly tough drought conditions, I am encouraged by this new and changing forecast. I can see southern California moving towards a time when people are working together, each in their own individual way, to harvest LA’s rain.

Best Regards,

Shahram Kharaghani, Stormwater Program Manager

Click here to view all of the articles in Issue 10 of the LA Stormwater newsletter.

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