Stormwater Capture in California: Innovative Policies and Funding Opportunities

Published: June 2018

Authors: Morgan Shimabuku, Sarah Diringer, and Heather Cooley

Pages: 33



Stormwater has traditionally been managed to mitigate flooding and protect water quality. However, its potential as a local water supply has gained recent attention 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. Moreover, stormwater capture, especially when done with green infrastructure, can improve air quality, provide habitat, and reduce energy use, among other benefits.

State agencies have made major efforts to support stormwater capture, from adopting statewide stormwater use goals to clarifying the regulatory framework and dedicating funds for green infrastructure and multi-benefit stormwater projects. This report presents a summary of regulations, laws, and statewide initiatives that create the legal framework for stormwater capture in California. In addition, the report explores examples of successful stormwater programs, initiatives, and funding schemes from communities in California and beyond that directly and indirectly support stormwater capture and use. It concludes with a set of recommendations to overcome obstacles and expand stormwater capture in the state.