What’s the Rainwater Harvesting Program?

Eariler this month, the Stormwater Program rolled out the City’s first Rainwater Harvesting pilot program that will provide free assistance to residents and commercial businesses willing to collect rainwater for storage and use for their private property irrigation. The program aims to reduce the polluted rainwater that goes into the ocean and help conserve the use of potable water.

“We Angelenos, living in a ‘dry’ climate, have heard that urban runoff is the greatest source of ocean pollution, and we want to do our part; but we often don’t know what we can do to make an impact on such a large problem,” says Pamela Brestler of G3, The Green Gardens Group. “As neighbors disconnect their downspouts and reconnect with each other in communities throughout Los Angeles, the larger pollution problem is significantly reduced and the individuals will feel the power and fun of working with their neighbors to make a difference in their communities,” adds Brestler.

Residents that sign up for the program will be eligible for complementary installations of rain barrels and downspout disconnections, or planter boxes for businesses. The captured rainwater will then be either routed to pervious surfaces or used for on-site irrigation. The program allows residents and businesses to become part of the solution in transforming rainwater from urban runoff to a natural commodity.

Who is Eligible?

The program aims to enlist 600 Los Angeles property owners in the targeted neighborhoods by fall 2009, and will set goals for citywide participation (download our brochure here).

What are the Environmental Benefits?

A typical Los Angeles home directs an average of 14,000 gallons of water down its downspouts and into the storm drain system annually. This water may collect pollutants, including trash, pet waste, oil and grease or other chemicals. As an alternative, the Rainwater Harvesting program will allow homeowners to collect the rainwater and reduce the amount of rainwater pollution entering the Santa Monica Bay. The captured rainwater will be maintained on individual properties to irrigate lawns and gardens thereby also helping residents comply with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s recently-mandated water conservation requirements.

Wing Tam, City of Los Angeles Rainwater Harvesting program manager says, “This program sets an important first step for future citywide roll-out. Our hope is that the pilot areas will begin the momentum needed to generate interest in harvesting rainwater throughout the entire community. Ultimately, the beauty of the program is that it establishes community members and the City as collaborators, both working together for a more sustainable water supply and a clean ocean.”

How is the Program Being Funded?

This program is being funded by the Safe Neighborhood Parks, Clean Water, Clean Air and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2000 (Prop 12) through the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and the California Coastal Conservancy.

How Do I Sign-Up?

For more information about the Rainwater Harvesting program and enrollment, including an online sign-up option, please visit LArainwaterharvesting.org or call (562) 597-0205.

Click here to view the e-newsletter article.