The State of Stormwater 2016

As California enters its fifth year of severe drought, it’s a good time to take stock of the progress Los Angeles has made in building a brighter water future. Here’s a look at some of the latest strides the City has made to strengthen our relationship with stormwater:

Stormwater-Capturing Projects

From green streets to pocket parks, runoff-reducing projects are popping up all over Los Angeles. Those projects include:

What’s more, plans are now underway to construct two underground drainage systems designed to gather runoff from Los Angeles International Airport.

Rainwater Capture at Home

A joint effort from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and LA Sanitation began outfitting about a half-dozen LA homes with water collection systems that could catch 7,000 gallons of rainwater per home in an average year.

In 2015, 35 million square feet of turf in Los Angeles was replaced with California Friendly landscaping—saving some 1.3 billion gallons of water a year.

What’s more, since Mayor Garcetti’s Executive Directive was issued in 2014, rebates on rain barrels, high-efficiency toilets and smart irrigation has resulted LA residents saving an additional 3 billion gallons of H20 annually. Inspired? Visit LADWP for information on cost-saving water savers, including $100 rebates for rain barrels and $400 rebates for cisterns.

New Policies & Plans

In 2015, Los Angeles County captured about 13 billion gallons of stormwater. Looking to boost that number, LADWP and LA Sanitation recently collaborated on the Stormwater Capture Master Plan, a system of large-scale projects and small-scale strategies that could help the city to collect up to 114,000 additional acre-feet of rainwater each year by 2035.

In another push to protect local waterways, LA County municipalities, non-governmental organizations, and community stakeholders are teaming up to improve water quality in each of the county’s five watersheds. The Enhanced Watershed Management Program promises to promote clean water, conservation and restore local water supply.

Building on the success of the LA’s Water Integrated Resources Plan to achieve a greener, more reliable and sustainable water future for Los Angeles beyond the year 2020, the One Water LA 2040 Plan kicked off in August. This collaborative approach will develop an integrated framework for managing the City’s watersheds, water resources and water facilities in an environmentally, economically and socially beneficial manner.

El Niño Preparation and Response

To prepare for the “Godzilla El Niño” rainy season, LA Sanitation cleaned 2,160 tons of trash from 30,000 catch basins in the last year. They also expanded their customer care center to accept calls about flooded streets, clogged storm drains and other issues around the clock, 365 days a year.

And during severe storms, LA Sanitation emergency crews will be patrolling neighborhoods and communities that have historically been prone to flooding and will be on hand to respond to reports of clogged storm drains, flooded streets and sewer system overflows.

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Comments (4)

  1. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Steve Wiliams
    February 4th, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Your rainwater program is poor as shown. First Rainwater harvesting needs opaque tanks and these barrels will decompose due to the lack of paint or uv protection. I wish these programs would use real rainwater tanks, use the proper photos and show proper procedures. Go to http://arcsa.org to learn how to do it right.

  2. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Los Angeles trip planner
    February 4th, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    For years I have been going to community meetings, proposing that the city should acquire the two small lots on the corner of King Blvd and Hillcrest Drive to make pocket parks over a catch basin for all the water that runs down on Hillcrest, as a lot of water runs down the hill on Hillcrest and other streets, overflowing the storm drains and flooding the streets, even when it rains a small amount. Two times, when one of the lots were for sale, a busload of community members went to the city council meetings to protest the building permits of a car wash business. Even our Senior Lead Officer of LAPD at that time testified that an automated car wash would be the worst idea, as it would attract undesirable and criminal elements. We were told by Herman Van Buren of the dept. of city planning, that the car wash permits would be revoked. Unfortunately, someone higher up reversed it; and now we are getting a car wash instead of a storm drain catch basin and filtration system to wash clean water down the Ballona Creak to the Ocean. What a shame!

  3. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Los Angeles trip planner
    February 4th, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Several of my neighbors are actively working to keep the storm drains free of debris. We have Chinese Elm trees that are prolific debris producers, so raking the leaves in front of the storm drains is a constant job just before and during storms. Is there any kind of bag, pen or other item that I can give to the residents to “reward” those residents at our next block club meeting in March? Thank you.

    • Avatar for LA Stormwater
      Los Angeles trip planner
      February 9th, 2016 at 9:51 am

      Thanks so much to your neighbors for doing their part to keep our local waterways free of debris. Look for an e-mail from LA Stormwater about some nifty swag for your neighbors! Thanks, Lynetta!

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