Whole Life Magazine

October / November 2015

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/578674

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 43

U nlike Clorado, where there are laws against harvesting rain, L.A. has no restrictions, but very few residents bother to do it. So when an Angeleno turns on the faucet for a glass of water, or takes out the hose to water his garden, 12 percent of that water comes from local groundwater sources, and more than 85 percent is imported (at a price) from the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta or the Colorado River (partially explaining Colorado's anti-rain barrel laws). As the West gets dryer, Colo- radans aren't thrilled that we're sucking their water, and in turn, the L.A. Department of Water and Power wants to make our local water supply more sustainable and reduce our dependence on im- ported water that's subject to legal and environmental mandates and vulnerable to natural disasters. One solution is to capture more storm- water, a plan that couldn't be more timely with an anticipated El Niño winter ahead of us. While much of the rain that falls in our region fl ows into the Pacifi c Ocean as stormwater runoff, more than 27,000 acre-feet (about 8.8 bil- lion gallons) is currently captured each year at centralized spread- ing grounds. These water conservation facilities collect stormwater and allow it to percolate into groundwater basins for later pumping. The LADWP is working to increase stormwater capture projects like these and decrease the amount of runoff lost to the ocean. Over the past three years, the DWP has developed a Stormwater Capture Master Plan (SCMP) for the next two decades, which was fi nalized in August. The plan aims to capture signifi cantly more storm- water, both to recharge the groundwa- ter and to collect water for direct use, while also "providing reduced street fl ooding, improved runoff water quali- ty, and increased habitat and wildlife," writes Ellen Cheng, LADWP public rela- tions specialist. So should we all run out and buy rain barrels? The SCMP includes large-scale projects—new water conservation facil- ities and community storage basins—as well as smaller scale ones, so as Cheng notes, L.A. residents may even see incen- tives for using rain barrels, rain gardens and cisterns. Through the new plan, the LADWP hopes to triple the amount of stormwater captured by the city to around 200,000 acre-feet of water per year, more than a third of the city's current water demand. So if El Niño is coming, bring it on! By Lisa Beebe L.A.'s new water plan Miss an issue? Download back issues at www.wholelifetimes.com city of angels WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO THE RAIN 10 wholelifetimes.com

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Whole Life Magazine - October / November 2015