When rainwater falls on Bassett High School’s athletic fields, it does more than just muddy the ground. The water soaks into the soil, and along with rainwater from storm drains, it gets captured, treated, and stored for future use by the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District. The community is a model for the rest of Los Angeles County, which is looking to implement a county-wide stormwater program to make use of the billions of gallons that go to waste every year. Among the benefits of capturing and treating rainwater: lower costs and less pollution.
As Alhambra Source reports:
Importing water comes at a cost of $1,000 per acre-feet, said Mark Pestrella, Director of the L.A. County Department of Public Works, with an acre-feet able to provide water for a two families of four. Capturing water for local use could reduce costs to $300 per acre-feet.
Pollution is also an issue, with stormwater picking up contaminants that then flow into rivers, streams and then the ocean, threatening marine wildlife as well as beachgoers.
The goal of L.A. County’s stormwater capture plan would not only add more local water to the drinking supply, but make it safer for residents to consume.
This also fits in with opportunities to build green infrastructure, since more trees, bushes and grass means more opportunities to absorb rainwater and add it to the groundwater supply.