The Santa Fe Spreading Grounds, located off the San Gabriel River, is one of 26 such facilities operated by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District for groundwater recharge. During an average year of rainfall, the District returns close to 85 billion gallons of stormwater, recycled water and imported water to groundwater basins — enough to supply two million County residents for a year. Nearly 71 billion gallons of that total is stormwater.  After years of drought and new, unprecedented restrictions on water use, Los Angeles is taking an innovative approach to reduce future reliance on imported water, in addition to taking preventive measures for a predicted weather trend of heavier, more intense precipitation.

The City has recently introduced their comprehensive Stormwater Plan which will encompass several projects throughout the city.  Instead of allowing up to 10 billion gallons of water from a single storm from simply surging into the Pacific Ocean, the plan includes three large-scale projects in the San Fernando Valley that would capture the valuable resource in basins or washes and be filtered through an aquifer recharge process. Centralized Stormwater Capture Facilities are designed specifically to divert large amounts of runoff into underlying groundwater aquifers. Homeowners, businesses and schools are also called to support the stormwater capture cause. Incentives will be put in place to encourage installation of large cisterns and swales to help clean stormwater runoff and direct it to capture basins. An average of 27,000 acre-feet of rainwater is collected in Los Angeles each year.  Under the revised initiative, the city plans to collect more than 100,000 acre- feet of rainwater each year. For measurement comparison, one acre-foot is taken to be the planned water usage of a suburban family household, annually.  One acre-foot/year is approximately 893 gallons per day.

Los Angeles’ Clever Stormwater Agenda

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