MWD Approves $5 Million to Capture Rainwater

MWD Approves $5 Million to Capture Rainwater


The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California has approved five million dollars in its quest to identify the best and most efficient way of capturing the tens of billions of gallons of rainwater lost during rainstorms every year.  “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. “We want to better understand that potential, and its cost, as part of our commitment to developing local resources.” In 2016 for example, Los Angeles spent $29 million to expand an existing stormwater capture system. Although this doubled its capacity to 5 billion gallons of stormwater per year more needed to be done.  For example, it is estimated nearly 163 billion gallons of stormwater washes off city streets and sidewalks into storm drains and out to the ocean each year. In 2018, voters in the city passed Measure W to fund infrastructure projects and programs to capture, treat and recycle additional rainwater.  MWD is a consortium of 26 cities and water districts. It provides drinking water to nearly 17 million citizens across parts of Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. The agency is responsible for reselling imported water from the Colorado River and Northern California. Water imported from these sources comprises about 60 percent of Southern California’s water supply.  During an era of changing climate including cycles of drought and/or erratic storm bursts, capturing stormwater is considered a viable option to recharging aquifers, etc. Yet, capturing storm water is not without concerns that include the need to filter out nitrogen, phosphorus and at times even heavy metals and other pollutants that are often carried along with the runoff of rainwater. 

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