Rainwater Harvesting and Rain Gardens
Water is a scarce resource within southern California. Although it falls freely from the sky, it is wasted as a resource when it is streamlined to Santa Monica Bay via gutters, streets, and storm drains. As rainwater flows over urban hardscapes, it collects trash, oil, grease, and other pollutants along the way, ultimately flowing into Santa Monica Bay.
Rainwater harvesting improves water quality and increases local water resources by capturing, storing, and/or infiltrating rainwater directly on one’s property and effectively decreasing polluted runoff and potable water use. Water may be stored in rain barrels or larger containers (cisterns) to be used during the dry season, supplement outdoor water use, and aid the conservation of potable water supplies. In 2013, The Bay Foundation was awarded the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Green Leadership Award for the Culver City Rainwater Harvesting Program. Click HERE to read the final report.
Rain gardens are another effective method of rainwater harvesting because instead of being stored in containers for later use, rainwater is allowed to soak into the soil. As water trickles through the soil, it is naturally cleansed of pollutants before it eventually helps recharge depleted southern California groundwater reserves. Use of this groundwater saves energy by reducing the amount of energy required to transport potable water from outside southern California. Rain gardens also are planted with native plants which creates a native ecosystem for birds and wildlife while simultaneously improving water quality and reducing polluted runoff. Rain gardens are an excellent example of allowing natural processes to help combat the effects of urban development!
In 2015, TBF installed four residential rain gardens for a Metropolitan Water District of Southern California grant to assess potable water savings and stormwater capture potential. For the complete report go HERE.