Good news has surfaced in Los Angeles County’s ongoing battle with water scarcity.
The Los Angeles County Public Works Department announced Monday that more than 33 billion gallons of stormwater have been captured in the early months of the California winter storm season.
It will be used as drinking water and is enough to supply 816,000 people with enough water for an entire year, according to Los Angeles County Public Works Director Mark Pestrella.
“This is great news for the county and the region,” Pestrella said in a news release. “We’re working with our water partners to increase the region’s capacity to capture, clean and conserve stormwater runoff, while investing with equity in communities through the Safe Clean Water Program.”
L.A. County’s Public Works Department operates a regional stormwater network that includes 14 major dams and more than 620 miles of rivers and flood channels and 3,400 miles of underground storm drains.
The system is tasked with regional flood protection throughout the Los Angeles Basin and is responsible for recharging groundwater aquifers that supply about one-third of the area’s drinking water.
The Public Works Department also manages the Safe Clean Water Program, an initiative passed in 2018 that aims to increase local water supplies by capturing stormwater.
Several recapture projects have been completed since the adoption of the Safe Clean Water Program. So far, the projects have resulted in 228 million gallons of stormwater being collected each year.
More infrastructure projects are underway with funding through the program, Public Works officials said. Once completed, those projects are expected to provide capacity to serve an additional 500,000 people across L.A. County.