Sep 12, 2019

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California approves $5 million storm water pilot program

The proposed project will provide data on various methods, including costs, performance and measuring capture volumes.

A lot of water in the area is lost to runoff, so the project will examine ways to manage the billions of gallons of rainfall each year.
A lot of water in the area is lost to runoff, so the project will examine ways to manage the billions of gallons of rainfall each year.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is prioritizing the management of storm water with the approval of $5 million for a pilot program. 

The money, and therefore pilot program, will help the agency, which is a wholesaler that provides water for 26 member public agencies, determine how to best manage the billions of gallons of rainwater that flow from roofs and pavement in Southern California, according to The Orange County Register.

According to The Orange County Register, the water district’s duty is to resell imported water from the Colorado River and Northern California. Approximately 60% of California’s water supply is imported water, and with the cost of it is expected to continually increase, due to scarcity and energy costs, officials say storm water will become more valuable as well. 

“A lot of hope has been placed in the potential of stormwater as a local water supply for Southern California,” said Metropolitan Chairwoman Gloria Gray to The Orange County Register. “We want to better understand that potential, and its cost, as part of our commitment to developing local resources.”

But a lot of water in the area is lost to runoff. For example, in Los Angeles alone it is estimated that 163 billions of gallons of storm water flow into storm drains and then into the ocean each year. Conservation experts say not only is that a waste of water but storm water carries harmful chemicals and bacteria that can negatively impact beaches, according to The Orange County Register. 

Experts have said that storm water cannot be captured by one project, so in 2014, voters in the state approved Proposition 1, which guaranteed $7.12 billion for water infrastructure projects, including $200 million for storm water management programs. After multiple projects, though, officials are still unsure of how to best capture storm water. According to The Orange County Register. 

The water district has worked to diversify its water supply, including providing more than $500 million in incentives to more than 100 groundwater recovery and recycled water projects, but none have included locally captured storm water. 

The Orange County Register reported that this specific pilot program is predicted to provide data on various methods, including measuring capture volumes, costs and performance, and will focus on projects that capture storm water for irrigation uses only, utilizing methods like cisterns and permeable pavement with underground collection systems.

Read related articles to storm water management and reuse.

 

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