State Water Resources Control Board Announces $9.5 Million in Grants for Stormwater Capture

State Water Resources Control Board Announces $9.5 Million in Grants for Stormwater Capture



SACRAMENTO, CA - Could capturing California’s stormwater be one way to combat the state’s historic drought? California’s State Water Resources Control Board recently announced it will be providing $9.5 million in grants to 28 different stormwater capture projects. Felicia Marcus, Chairwoman for the Board, called stormwater capture “a smart investment in the future.”

Felicia Marcus, Chair, California State Water Board

“An overdue and welcome shift is occurring in California in how we think about storm water,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus in a statement to the press. “Rather than viewing it as a nuisance that can cause flooding and funnel pollutants into local waterways, communities throughout the state are looking for ways to turn storm water into a resource: to capture water when it falls, clean up waterways, combat drought, and become more resilient in the face of climate change while also creating better public spaces.” 

The existing Tujunga Spreading Grounds

One project in the County of Los Angeles, a region who is no stranger to making use of storm flows, is known as Tujunga Spreading Grounds. According to source News Deeply, the proposed expansion of Tujunga will double its capacity to capture storm flows, which thereby recharge groundwater aquifers. Steven Kuo, Project Engineer at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, spoke with News Deeply about the project and the use of storm flow to combat the drought.

 Steven Kuo, Project Engineer, The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

“Our focus is to identify uses of stormwater and recharge or reuse and add that to our water resources. We work on big and small projects. Tujunga is one of the biggest, but we also have lots of smaller projects, like the Green Streets projects,” explained Kuo. “Ultimately our goal here is to decrease our dependency on imported water and really try to improve our local resources. Stormwater capture and recharging groundwater is a main objective for us.”

Plans for the Tujunga Spreading Grounds Expansion

The water sourced at Tujunga will ultimately flow down to the groundwater in the San Fernando Basin, Kuo said, and Los Angeles already has pumping stations set to pump out the water. The water is then treated to drinking standards and put that into our drinking system for our consumers.

“The site can currently capture about 8,000 acre-feet [9.9 million cubic meters] per year. The expansion will increase that to 16,000 acre-feet [19.7 million cubic meters] – or enough to serve 48,000 households for a year,” Kuo explained about the Tujunga site. “Those numbers are an annual average. So, some years you’re going to have more, some years you’re going to have less.”

With numbers like that, it's hard not to be optimistic about the potential mitigation of the drought from the proposed 28 newly funded projects. Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow as we continue to keep our eyes open for more developments.