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Los Angeles's Plan to Start Harvesting Its Rainwater

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Image via Sterling Davis / Curbed LA flickr pool

When water falls from the sky in Los Angeles, the city captures a little; in a year, they manage to get ahold of 27,000 acre-feet of water on average. (One acre-foot is equal to about 326,000 gallons—enough for two households for a year.) But after four years of severe statewide drought, the LA Department of Water and Power is considering an enormous rainwater capture plan that could possibly yield between 100,000 and 200,000 more acre-feet of water a year by 2035, says the LA Times.

Set to be presented today, the Stormwater Capture Master Plan includes big projects in the Valley that would "recharge" the underground water storage by collecting water and gradually reintroducing it back into the ground, plus smaller plans that could be implemented around the city: streets could become green streets, parks could install bioswales, and private homes could add rain barrels or a cistern.

The LADWP says that the projects within the plan would have to be given the green light on a "case-by-case basis" from the department's board of directors and from the LA County Department of Public Works, who the LADWP is already asking for funding help. The plan would cost anywhere from $60 to $220 million, depending on how aggressive they want to be about getting every last drop.

Some researchers predict that, because of climate change, SoCal will be getting fewer rainy days as the century wears on, but those that do come will be more intense and produce more water than usual. With these rainwater collection systems in place, more of that captured water could be available for year-round use. Which could certainly come in handy as the drought drags on.

· DWP to unveil plan to capture storm runoff [LAT]
· Stormwater Capture Master Plan [Official site]
· Seven Ways California Could Change in a 72-Year Drought [Curbed LA]