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Infrastructure Projects & Scientific Studies

We partner with communities and organizations to create projects that improve our neighborhoods while capturing and cleaning stormwater.

The Safe, Clean Water Program invites municipalities, community organizations, nonprofits, and individuals to imagine, design, and implement stormwater infrastructure. These improvements prioritize green spaces and recreation areas in underinvested communities. These projects produce many benefits by:

  • Creating new park spaces and recreational opportunities
  • Growing our yearly collection of rainwater to supply water for millions of people in LA County annually
  • Improving flood protection through infrastructure upgrades
  • Increasing shade and reducing concrete, which reduces heat island effects
  • Protecting streams, creeks, rivers, and the ocean from pollution so they can be enjoyed by people and wildlife
  • Reducing trash and eliminating toxins and other harmful pollutants from stormwater runoff before it reaches our beaches
  • Featured Project

    Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park Project

    This project is improving water quality and supply through the capture and treatment of stormwater and urban runoff, all while improving the open space and recreational amenities of the Park.

    • Protects the water quality of local rivers and streams
    • Minimizes potable water use
    • Creates a sustainable new water source
  • Featured Project

    Bassett High School Stormwater Capture Project

    The project includes construction of new drainage infrastructure to capture and treat stormwater and enhancements to the fields, including drought tolerant landscaping with educational signage, enhanced athletic fields, and a pocket park available for public use.

    • Improves local water quality
    • Incorporates draught tolerant landscaping
    • Increases and improves community recreation areas
  • Featured Project

    El Dorado Duck Pond Project

    This duck pond rehabilitation project will improve water quality, enhance recreational amenities, and enhance the pond’s habitat for local wildlife. This project will also provide a new reclaimed water system to the adjacent golf course reducing the use of potable water. 

    • Improves water quality
    • Enlarges local wetlands and forebay
    • Supports water conservation efforts
  • Featured Project

    Santa Monica Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project

    A first-of-its-kind water recycling facility that captures rain and stores it underground for future use. The recycled water can be used for irrigation, toilet flushing in buildings that have dual plumbing and recharging groundwater aquifers.

    • Provides recreational opportunities for the community
    • Enhances green spaces at local schools
    • Improves flood protection
  • Community members touring the park (LA County)
  • Rendering of the upgraded Bassett High School fields
  • View of the pond from above
  • Water capture recycling facility

Types of Projects

Wondering what kinds of projects can improve water supply and quality while also greening our communities? Take a look:

  • Bioretention

    Bioretention projects, like rainwater gardens, collect and clean stormwater by filtering it through plants, soil, sand, and gravel.

  • Biofiltration

    Biofiltration relies on microorganisms to break down and remove pollutants in wastewater.

  • Infiltration Well

    Infiltration wells capture and preserve stormwater runoff before it reaches rivers, streams, and oceans.

  • Cistern

    Cisterns act as both above and below ground reservoirs that catch and store rainwater for future use.

  • Rain Barrel

    Rain barrels collect and hold stormwater runoff from roofs to use for lawns or indoor and outdoor plants.

  • Infiltration Facility

    Infiltration Facilities help to replenish groundwater by storing stormwater runoff and allowing it to gradually filter through the soil.

  • Treatment Facility

    Water Treatment Facilities intercept and treat stormwater so that it can be recycled to irrigate green spaces.

  • Sanitary Sewer

    These projects divert stormwater and other urban runoff to sanitary sewer systems for treatment.

From idea to implementation

How it works:

Each year, the Safe, Clean Water Program spends much of its revenue funding local infrastructure projects that increase water supply, improve water quality, and provide community enhancements. 

Municipalities should submit local stormwater project and program ideas as part of their Annual Plan. Learn more here.

Watershed-based project ideas from municipalities, individuals, community groups, and nonprofits are selected through a yearly call for proposals that solicits applications falling into one of three categories: 

  1. Infrastructure Program
  2. Technical Resources Program
  3. Scientific Studies Program 

Read on for a step-by-step overview to better understand the application process. For more in-depth instructions, download our Regional Program Funding Process Handbook.

  • We know that great ideas can come from anywhere. Whether you’re a municipality, community organization, nonprofit, or an individual feeling inspired to design or propose a project, we want to hear from you.

    The Program is designed to support a range of ideas, from fully fleshed out infrastructure projects to early stage proposals that need support determining feasibility to scientific studies that will bolster the effectiveness of the projects we design and implement.

  • Because each watershed has unique qualities, projects should be tailored to the needs of their location. Watershed coordinators are available to support and educate applicants on every step of the process, from application to implementation.

    Do you know your watershed or watershed coordinator? If not, we have a tool to help you find out.

  • A feasibility study is conducted to determine the feasibility of a proposed project and include a detailed investigation and report. All infrastructure projects seeking funding from the Safe, Clean Water Program must have completed a feasibility study.

    Need help conducting your feasibility study? The Safe, Clean Water Technical Resources Program can provide assistance. Apply here and reach out to your watershed coordinator for support.

    For more information on technical resources, visit the Technical Assistance Resources page.

  • Applications are submitted to the Watershed Area Steering Committee (WASC) through the Safe, Clean Water project portal.

  • Applications go through a series of evaluations and approvals based on a range of criteria, including water quality benefits, water supply benefits, community investment benefits, nature-based solutions, community support, and leveraging funds. The following bodies are part of the annual review process:

    • Watershed Area Steering Committees (WASCs) – Nine WASCs, each comprised of representatives from municipalities, agencies, and community stakeholders, review applications and determine which infrastructure projects are shared with the Scoring Committee for evaluation. Project concepts, studies, and scored projects are then deliberated by the WASCs as they determine which projects should be included in the annual Stormwater Investment Plan (SIP) for their watershed area.
    • Scoring Committee – The Scoring Committee, comprised of six subject matter experts in water quality benefits, water supply benefits, nature-based solutions, and community investment benefits, reviews the projects recommended by each WASC and indicates which are eligible for funding and which do not meet the scoring threshold.
    • Regional Oversight Committee (ROC) – This committee consists of nine subject matter experts with knowledge in water quality benefits, water supply benefits, nature-based solutions, community investment benefits, public health, sustainability, and other relevant issue areas. There are also two non-voting members representing the chair of the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the District. The ROC reviews each SIP submitted by the WASCs and evaluates how each plan will achieve the goals of the Program.
    • LA County Board of Supervisors – The ROC shares its findings with the LA County Board of Supervisors along with a recommendation of whether or not the Board should approve each WASC’s SIP. Final decisions about which projects receive Program funding are made by the LA County Board of Supervisors annually.
  • Projects and studies that are approved for funding must complete a fund transfer agreement between the project developer and the Los Angeles County Flood Control District in order to receive Program funds.

    You can download a sample fund transfer agreement here.

    Once approved, the Safe, Clean Water Program requires reporting and independent audits to ensure that everyone who receives funding fulfills the objectives and goals of the Program. Refer to the Reporting and Accountability Page to learn more.

  • Each year, the Safe, Clean Water Program spends much of its revenue funding scientific studies and local infrastructure projects that increase water supply, improve water quality, and provide community enhancements. 

    Municipalities submit local stormwater project and program ideas as part of their Annual Plan. Municipalities can learn more here.

    Watershed-based project ideas from municipalities, individuals, community groups, and nonprofits are selected through a yearly call for proposals that solicits applications falling into one of three categories: 

    1. Infrastructure Program
    2. Technical Resources Program
    3. Scientific Studies Program 

    The Infrastructure Projects and Scientific Studies page has a step-by-step overview to better understand the application process. For more in-depth instructions, download our Regional Program Funding Process Handbook.

  • The District, on behalf of the Watershed Area Steering Committees, announces the call for projects annually. 

    The call for Projects for FY 24-25 Funding is open now. The application deadline is July 31, 2023. 

    Applications are submitted to the Watershed Area Steering Committees (WASCs) through the Safe, Clean Water project portal.

  • Yes, a feasibility study is required before a project will be considered for funding. As defined by the Feasibility Study Guidelines, project applicants must meet the minimum requirements and also meet the threshold score of 60 points or more using the Infrastructure Program Project Scoring Criteria. Feasibility Study Guidelines and Scoring Criteria can be found in the project application

    The feasibility study should be submitted as part of your project application. The application portal will guide you through all of the required information. Please consult the Feasibility Study Guidelines for additional information.

  • The Safe, Clean Water Program provides support to community groups, municipalities, and individuals who need assistance developing their project concepts and applications. It also provides resources for those interested in learning more about their watershed or getting involved in the Program.

    If you have an idea for a project but are in need of additional support, Safe, Clean Water’s Technical Resources Program can help. It provides dedicated watershed coordinators for each LA County watershed, technical assistance teams comprised of subject matter experts, and funding and support for the development of feasibility studies, which are required as part of the Infrastructure Program project application.

  • Applications go through a series of evaluations and approvals based on a range of criteria, including water quality benefits, water supply benefits, community investment benefits, nature-based solutions, community support, and leveraging funds. The following bodies are part of the annual review process:

    • Watershed Area Steering Committees (WASCs) - Nine WASCs, each comprised of representatives from municipalities, agencies, and community stakeholders, review applications and determine which infrastructure projects are shared with the Scoring Committee for evaluation. Project concepts, studies, and scored projects are then deliberated by the WASCs as they determine which projects should be included in the annual Stormwater Investment Plan (SIP) for their watershed area.
    • Scoring Committee - The Scoring Committee - comprised of six subject matter experts in water quality benefits, water supply benefits, nature-based solutions, and community investment benefits - reviews the projects recommended by each WASC and indicates which are eligible for funding and which do not meet the scoring threshold. 
    • Regional Oversight Committee (ROC) - This committee consists of nine subject matter experts with knowledge in water quality benefits, water supply benefits, nature-based solutions and community investment benefits, public health, sustainability, and other relevant issue areas. There are also two non-voting members representing the Chair of the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Flood Control District. The Regional Oversight Committee reviews each investment plan submitted by the watershed committees and evaluates how each plan will achieve the goals of the Program. 
    • LA County Board of Supervisors - The Regional Oversight Committee shares its findings with the LA County Board of Supervisors along with a recommendation of whether or not the Board should approve each watershed committee’s investment plan. Final decisions about which projects receive Program funding are made by the LA County Board of Supervisors annually.