LADWP working to capture rain water after SoCal storm

On Friday, officials said only about 20% of the water from this week's storm will be captured before it flows away.

Carlos Granda Image
Saturday, January 7, 2023
LADWP working to capture rain water after SoCal storm
EMBED <>More Videos

On Friday, officials said only about 20% of the water from this week's storm will be captured before it flows away.

STUDIO CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Storm water capture plays an important role in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's overall plan to enhance local water supply, and this week's rain put the plan to work.

On Friday, officials said only about 20% of the water from this week's storm will be captured before it flows away.

"I see how much of an opportunity there is to capture that water," said Art Castro, the manager of Watershed Management at LADWP.

Castro said the department is working with L.A. county and others make use of the water.

In June, the Tujunga Spreading Grounds doubled its capacity to capture storm water. Water from the national forest that would normally wash away can provide enough water for 64,000 households every year, officials said.

"The water gets diverted into those spreading grounds. They're huge if you think of 150 acres for those spreading grounds alone, so that water then gets pooled and then gets recharged into the ground water for future use," said Castro.

There are similar facilities all over the L.A. area that can't be seen above ground but are storing water underground. Rainwater percolates through the soil and into an aquifer that serves as an enormous reservoir.

"We put that into subterranean chambers, and what that does is it cleans the water, cleans the pollutants from the street to prevent those pollutants from actually getting into the L.A. River, and eventually, into the Pacific Ocean," explained Castro. "At the same time we able to capture that water for the potable supply."

The Headworks project, south of the 134 Freeway near Griffith Park, is not directly related to storm water capture but it is an important part of the entire system. The facility can store more than 100 million gallons of water.

Southern California still imports about 60% of its water and officials said it will take a regionwide effort to capture all the water.

Castro believes it will take "having a different look at storm water, as an asset, rather than a liability."

Officials said it could take decades to build a storm water capture system that will provide enough water for the area.