Stormwater Capture Potential in Urban and Suburban California – Issue Brief

Published: June 2014

Authors: Noah Garrison, Jake Sahl, Aubrey Dugger, and Robert Wilkinson

Pages: 8



Drought in California poses a serious threat to water resources in communities across the state. The continued effects of climate change will likely exacerbate periods of drought, rendering California’s current urban and suburban water supplies unreliable and insufficient.

This Issue Brief, produced in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, , finds that captured stormwater runoff can be used to increase California’s water supplies dramatically. Stormwater capture is defined as either directing runoff to open spaces and allowing it to recharge groundwater supplies, or harvesting runoff from rooftops using rain barrels or cisterns for direct use in non-potable applications. Compared to other water conservation and efficiency measures, stormwater capture can be implemented relatively easily and cheaply, while significantly improving the resilience of California water supplies.

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