California Has Gotten So Much Rain, but Most of It Has Been Wasted

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People walking along the Laguna Beach boardwalk look at stormwater pouring out to the ocean in Laguna Beach in an undated photo. (Credit: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

People walking along the Laguna Beach boardwalk look at stormwater pouring out to the ocean in Laguna Beach in an undated photo. (Credit: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

California’s wet winter has dumped an estimated 18 trillion gallons of rain in February alone. But much of it is simply going down the drain.

In what has become a source of much concern in a state prone to droughts and water shortages, the vast majority of rainwater in urban areas flows into storm drains and is eventually lost to the Pacific Ocean.

“When you look at the Los Angeles River being between 50% and 70% full during a storm, you realize that more water is running down the river into the ocean than what Los Angeles would use in close to a year,” said Mark Gold, associate vice chancellor for environment and sustainability at UCLA. “What a waste of water supply.”

For Southern California, this is shaping up to be the wettest winter in years — serving as a reminder of how much water is wasted when the skies open up.

Local agencies did step up water capture efforts after the region’s most recent drought, but officials admit it’s going to take time and a lot of money to save the significant amounts of rainwater now being lost.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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