Stormwater Capture a Valuable Opportunity to Enhance Local Water Supply in California Communities

June 28, 2018, Oakland, Calif. – Traditionally managed to mitigate flooding and protect water quality, stormwater has gained recent attention as a valuable local water supply option in water-stressed areas. As climate change increases the risk of both floods and droughts in California, urban stormwater capture also offers a significant opportunity to enhance community resilience. And stormwater capture, especially when done with green infrastructure, can improve air quality, provide habitat, and reduce energy use, among other benefits.  

A new report from the Pacific Institute presents a summary of regulations, laws, and statewide initiatives that create the legal framework for stormwater management in California. Stormwater Capture in California: Innovative Policies and Funding Opportunities explores effective programs and initiatives in California communities and in other states, and concludes with a set of recommendations to overcome obstacles and expand stormwater capture in California.

“Stormwater capture presents a significant opportunity to enhance California water resilience under climate change,” says report author Morgan Shimabuku. “Although communities face obstacles to implementation, the examples in the report highlight many ways communities across the state can tackle these obstacles and effectively use stormwater to enhance local water supplies.”

Recommendations for supporting stormwater capture in California include: expanding state funding and reducing barriers for local funding of stormwater management, including by considering how to improve the usefulness and uptake of the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds; developing dedicated, local funding sources for stormwater management, including basing stormwater fees on impervious area; and adopting policies, such as regulatory approaches or explicit local water policy goals, that drive innovative and sustainable approaches for water supply.

Read more about the report and download a copy here