Are You Eligible for the FREE Rainwater Harvesting Program?


What’s the Rainwater Harvesting Program? Earlier this month, the Stormwater Program rolled out the City’s first Rainwater Harvesting pilot program that will provide free assistance to residents and commercial businesses willing to collect rainwater for storage and use for their private property irrigation. The program aims to reduce the polluted rainwater that goes into the ocean and help conserve the use of potable water.

“We Angelenos, living in a ‘dry’ climate, have heard that urban runoff is the greatest source of ocean pollution, and we want to do our part; but we often don’t know what we can do to make an impact on such a large problem,” says Pamela Brestler of G3, The Green Gardens Group. “As neighbors disconnect their downspouts and reconnect with each other in communities throughout Los Angeles, the larger pollution problem is significantly reduced and the individuals will feel the power and fun of working with their neighbors to make a difference in their communities,” adds Brestler. Residents that sign up for the program will be eligible for complementary installations of rain barrels and downspout disconnections, or planter boxes for businesses. The captured rainwater will then be either routed to pervious surfaces or used for on-site irrigation. The program allows residents and businesses to become part of the solution in transforming rainwater from urban runoff to a natural commodity. Who is Eligible? The program aims to enlist 600 Los Angeles property owners in the targeted neighborhoods by fall 2009, and will set goals for citywide participation (download our brochure here). What are the Environmental Benefits? A typical Los Angeles home directs an average of 14,000 gallons of water down its downspouts and into the storm drain system annually. This water may collect pollutants, including trash, pet waste, oil and grease or other chemicals. As an alternative, the Rainwater Harvesting program will allow homeowners to collect the rainwater and reduce the amount of rainwater pollution entering the Santa Monica Bay. The captured rainwater will be maintained on individual properties to irrigate lawns and gardens thereby also helping residents comply with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s recently-mandated water conservation requirements. Wing Tam, City of Los Angeles Rainwater Harvesting program manager says, “This program sets an important first step for future citywide roll-out. Our hope is that the pilot areas will begin the momentum needed to generate interest in harvesting rainwater throughout the entire community. Ultimately, the beauty of the program is that it establishes community members and the City as collaborators, both working together for a more sustainable water supply and a clean ocean.” How is the Program Being Funded? This program is being funded by the Safe Neighborhood Parks, Clean Water, Clean Air and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2000 (Prop 12) through the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and the California Coastal Conservancy. How Do I Sign-Up? For more information about the Rainwater Harvesting program and enrollment, including an online sign-up option, please visit
Click here to view the e-newsletter article.

Comments (6)

  1. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Lost in America
    July 30th, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I also applied online only to find I am not eligible because I live in eastern Los Angeles County, so I second Stacey's comments.

    Could someone kindly post information on where I might purchase the water barrels and other necessary equipment so that I can do this on my own? Any chance there will be discount coupons available to promote this, rather than just let a few lucky people getting to participate for free? Thanks, Karen M.

  2. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Gayle A. Robison, DVM
    July 30th, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Congratulation on this program! New Mexico has regulations which REQUIRE rainwater harvesting setups on all new residential construction, and I think Los Angeles should consider getting THAT aggressive in the future. Rain gutters and barrels are NOT expensive propositions. Even cisterns for larger buildings to store rainwater make a great deal of sense.

    You are headed in the right direction. Keep going.

  3. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    July 31st, 2009 at 12:11 am

    I was listening to KPCC a few months ago and I heard about this program and signed up for the newsletters. I've been giving a lot of thought to ways to make my yard better suited to the climate of the San Fernando Valley. I am not in the priority area, but I'm hoping you'll expand the program. I would also like to know how this could be done independently if I can't be part of the pilot program. My neighbors are also very interested.
    Thank you!

  4. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Lisa Monreal
    August 5th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    What a great program. I love to look to LA City and see what you all are up to- and what programs I can begin to recreate in San Dimas. This is such a 'no brainer' and an awesome idea.

  5. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    September 19th, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    What a great idea. Rainwater Harvesting is a practice that is now becoming common here in Melbourne, Australia. It's great to see other cities getting involved as well.

  6. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    LA Stormwater
    March 26th, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    So glad you’re enjoying our web site. ?

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