Vice President Kamala Harris tours DWP facility in Sun Valley that stores rain water

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Saturday, January 21, 2023
Harris tours DWP facility in Sun Valley that helps capture storm water
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Vice President Kamala Harris visited a LADWP facility in Sun Valley that helps capture rain water after storms.

SUN VALLEY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Following the recent winter storms that brought massive amounts of rainfall to Southern California, the race is on to capture that water so it can help us fight droughts and climate change.

"We've done a great job at getting rid of water. So, now we have to do a great job of holding onto that water before it runs out to the ocean," said Marty Adams, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Los Angeles has a partner in this fight - the federal government.

On Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris toured the Tujunga Spreading Grounds, an LADWP facility in Sun Valley that takes rain water from the Tujunga wash and sends it into the San Fernando groundwater basin. Harris wants to replicate projects like this one.

"$12 billion is coming to western states and the western region of our country to address these issues in a way that we can build up resilience and adaptation and do the kind of work that is happening right here, which is investing in smart ways to store water so that we will have that water in times of crisis such as drought," Harris said.

This facility is one of 27 spreading grounds that provide water to Los Angeles County. Instead of water flooding Sun Valley due to the storms, this facility diverts it to be stored.

"We have recently pivoted from the driest three-year period since 1896 to the wettest three weeks on record," said Wade Crowfoot, the California Natural Resources secretary. "This weather whiplash is challenging us and challenging our infrastructure as never before."

Adams said the DWP is hoping for federal and state funding to build more projects like this.

"You won't find a lot of big facilities like this you can make new because you can't find this open space in the valley again," Adams said. "But now we're looking at smaller projects that will really help capture more storm water."

Another reason why Harris was interested in this facility: It takes pressure off river systems like the Colorado. Harris's visit follows President Biden's visit on Thursday to Northern California where he surveyed storm damage.