Metropolitan Water District to Study Rainfall and Stormwater Runoff

By on September 23, 2019
Metropolitan Water District

The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California has launched a new pilot program to provide vital data on the most efficient and cost-effective methods to capture and use rainfall and stormwater runoff. The $5 million pilot program will help fund the construction of new direct-use stormwater capture projects and the installation of monitoring equipment on existing projects.

Information on the costs and volume of water produced by different types of projects will be collected over three years and will inform the possible funding of stormwater capture efforts in the future. The goal is to understand the potential water supply benefits of local stormwater capture projects and how to best use that information.

“A lot of hope has been placed in the potential of stormwater as a local water supply for Southern California,” said MWD Chairwoman Gloria Gray. “We want to better understand that potential, and its cost, as part of our commitment to developing local resources.”

“Stormwater capture projects have a lot of benefits – improving water quality, flood control, habitat creation, and water supply,” MWD General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said. “But they are typically expensive to build. So as we explore opportunities to invest in these projects, in partnership with parties interested in their other benefits, we need to understand their water supply value.”

MWD has provided more than $500 million in incentives to more than 100 groundwater recovery and recycled water projects through its Local Resource Program. Due in part to a lack of data on the volume of water actually produced by such stormwater capture no local stormwater capture projects have been funded through the program.

The pilot program is aimed at direct-use projects. These could include cisterns and permeable pavement with underground collection systems, that capture rainfall and stormwater and use it on-site for non-potable needs such as irrigation. The water would not be eligible to become recharge water.

To facilitate capturing a diverse set of data, the pilot program will fund new and retrofit projects in three different climate zones across Southern California – coastal, mid and inland. Projects can be located at public or private non-residential sites, such as schools, parks, golf courses, commercial facilities and cemeteries.

Projects will be accepted by MWD on a first-come, first-served basis begin Jan 1, 2020. For additional information as approved by the MWD Board of Directors go to: