L.A. County's plan to capture stormwater could be state model

Amid a worsening drought, California water officials adopted new rules Tuesday aimed at capturing and reusing huge amounts of stormwater that have until now flowed down sewers and concrete rivers into the sea.

Federal clean water legislation has long required municipalities to limit the amount of pollution — including bacteria, trash and automotive fluids — that is flushed into oceans and waterways by storm runoff.

But only recently has California considered capturing this water as a way of augmenting its dwindling water reserves. The plan approved by the State Water Resources Control Board applies to Los Angeles County but is seen as a model for other parts of water-starved California.

"This could be quite historic and path-breaking," said Felicia Marcus, the board's chairwoman. "Our collective objective should be to use each scarce drop of water, and each local dollar, for multiple local benefits — flood control, water supply, water quality and urban greening in the face of climate change."

The board voted unanimously to approve a controversial set of revisions to Los Angeles County's stormwater discharge permit.

Among other things, the revisions provide a framework for cities to plan and build aquifer recharge systems and other forms of "green infrastructure," officials said.

Read the entire article at LAtimes.com