Today, on average, more than 27,000 acre-feet, or 8.8 billion gallons, of stormwater is captured each year at centralized spreading grounds where it recharges groundwater in the San Fernando Groundwater Basin. Stormwater runoff that cannot be contained at these facilities is discharged to the Pacific Ocean via the City’s rivers and storm drains.
We can certainly do more to capture and fully utilize this precious resource. Large scale stormwater capture projects, like new and enhanced centralized spreading grounds, and smaller ones like rain gardens, rain barrels, and permeable pavers, can help capture more stormwater and dry weather runoff for groundwater recharge or direct use.
Through the Stormwater Capture Master Planning Process, and with input from the community, the LADWP explored and identified opportunities to increase stormwater capture in Los Angeles as part of its effort to increase the local water supply and reduce the dependence on expensive imported water for the City of Los Angeles. The Stormwater Capture Master Plan is an outline for policymakers that will explain the LADWP’s strategies for the next 20 years to implement stormwater and watershed management programs, projects, and policies in the City of Los Angeles. It will serve as a guiding document for policymakers to consider when making decisions about programs and policies that impact L.A.’s water resources.
The Stormwater Capture Master Plan evaluated of existing stormwater capture facilities and projects, quantified the maximum stormwater capture potential, developed feasible stormwater capture alternatives, and provided potential strategies to increase stormwater capture. In addition, the Stormwater Capture Master Plan evaluated the multi-beneficial aspects of increasing stormwater capture, including groundwater recharge, increased water conservation, potential open space alternatives, improved downstream water quality, and peak flow attenuation in downstream channels, creeks, and streams such as the Los Angeles River. The Master Plan also includes recommendations on stormwater capture projects, programs, policies, incentives, and ordinances throughout the entire City of Los Angeles.
LADWP began its initial research for the Stormwater Capture Master Plan in the fall of 2013 and was finished August 2015. The Plan is available to download at the bottom of this page.
LADWP forged a partnership with TreePeople through a Memorandum of Agreement to utilize the non-profit organization’s experience in public education, agency integration, and stormwater management and policy in the implementation of the master planning process. The collaboration is based on the parties’ common environmental objectives, and builds on their shared involvement in multiple stakeholder processes, including the City of Los Angeles Integrated Resources Plan and the Greater Los Angeles County Integrated Regional Water Management Plan.
In partnership with the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Department of Public Works, LADWP has developed an innovative Stormwater Capture Parks Program to collect rainwater and urban runoff at nine local parks in the East San Fernando Valley.