Los Angeles infiltrates stormwater to help provide metro water needs using green infrastructure.
(2014) New York Times. Even though California is suffering from drought, when the rain came this fall, it came down in rapid deluges. All that storm water causes major issues. While in the past most utilities and government regulatory agencies divide water into water resources and water quality/stormwater, Los Angeles is beginning to think of water more holistically.
The NY Times article “Los Angeles, City of Water” in December 2014 talks about the revolution that’s occurring about water in the L.A. watershed, and it has everything to do with keeping water where it falls using green infrastructure. The article describes a compelling description of how a demonstration in 1998 led flood control officials to abandon plans for a storm drain in a flood prone area of the San Fernando Valley and instead focus on capturing storm water using green infrastructure. The staged mock flood that was demonstrated in South Central LA dumped 15 tons of water on the roof of a house; none of it left the property courtesy of two cisterns and amended soils that allowed water to pool and infiltrate (recharging the aquifer). As a result, the city retrofitted the street, which used to flood even in routine storms with, green infrastructure.
Water “produced” with green infrastructure costs about $300/acre foot when L.A. pays $800-1000/acre foot for water that’s brought in. Such “made” water could provide as much as half of the metropolitan areas water needs.
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