Rainwater Harvesting: Frequently Asked Questions - Los Angeles CA
Page 1 of 4 Frequently Asked Questions 1. What is the Rainwater Harvesting Program? The City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation, Watershed Protection Division (Stormwater Program) rolled out the City’s first free Rainwater Harvesting pilot program in July 2009. Residents that sign up for the program will be eligible for complimentary installations of (1) rain barrels (2) downspout disconnections, or (3) planter boxes for businesses. The captured rainwater will then be either routed to pervious surfaces or used for on- site irrigation. 2. How do I qualify for the program? Priority will be given to properties located in the Jefferson, Sawtelle and Mar Vista neighborhoods, but ALL properties located in the Ballona Creek Watershed (see areas below) are encouraged to apply as the program will soon begin accommodating some of those outside the pilot areas listed on a first come first served basis. Eligibility depends on meeting the requirements found on the application. At minimum, the applicant must have downspouts and be the owner of the property in question. 3. Where is the program taking place?Priority Areas Ballona Creek Watershed (green outline)
Page 2 of 4 Frequently Asked Questions4. Why is the program only available to properties in the Ballona Creek Watershed?The program is funded by the Safe Neighborhood Parks, Clean Water, Clean Air and CoastalProtection Bond Act of 2000 (Prop 12) through the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission(SMBRC) and the California Coastal Conservancy. Funding from SMBRC identified the BallonaCreek watershed as a priority area.5. What is a downspout and a rain gutter?6. How can a property owner apply? Applications are available online at www.LARainwaterHarvesting.org7. I’ve submitted my application, what happens next? Please expect to receive a response, whether or not you are eligible, approximately 1 month after you submit your application. If you are eligible, you will be contacted so that the rainwater harvesting specialist can visit your property and do a site assessment (property owner needs to be present). After the site assessment has been completed, another date will be set for the rainwater harvesting specialist to visit your property and retrofit the downspout.
Page 3 of 4 Frequently Asked Questions8. If I receive a rain barrel, what type of barrels are being used and how are theygoing to be connected? The City is using 55-gallon rain barrels for the pilot program. These barrels were repurposed from containers that used to store pickles, olives and syrup. (The City may also offer another barrel made of recyclable plastic to determine interest in the style.) Cost of barrel and installation is estimated at around $250 a piece. The barrels are equipped with mesh netting to keep out debris and mosquitoes. The barrels will be connected to the downspouts by a trained rain barrel installation specialist.9. Is one property eligible to receive more than one downspout retrofit?No. The goal for this pilot program is to engage as many property owners as possible andlimiting the installation to one per property allows us to reach the maximum number ofpeople. All of the rain barrels are equipped to allow for additional barrels to be connected(by the property owner) in order to capture overflow from the single barrel.10. How much water can be collected in an average year? Rainwater Harvesting Program Assumptions: 1. The average rainfall in the City of LA is 15.5" annually 2. A single rain barrel holds 55 gallons of water 3. Overflow from a rain barrel might NOT be captured on site 590 homes1 ‐ 1 rain barrel per home Rain barrel volume 32,450 gallons *Annual ave. # or rain events ≥ 0.25" 18 TOTAL 584,100 gallons The above table indicates an estimate of how much water will be harvested as a result of theRainwater Harvesting pilot program. The potential for capturing rainwater is far reaching andthe hope is that this program will set forward the momentum for other Angelenos to take theinitiative in capturing their own rainwater. For example, the average home has a roof ofabout 1000 square feet. And the annual rainfall in Los Angeles is about 15.5 inches. So if allof this rainfall could be harvested, it would amount to about 9,600 gallons per home per year.Five hundred homes would amount to 4.8 million gallons and 1000 homes – 9.6 million.1 The program includes 600 property owners, of which 10 are businesses and 590 are residences.
Page 4 of 4 Frequently Asked Questions11. How does having retrofitting your downspout help with the broader problemsof water scarcity and storm-water runoff in Los Angeles? The City of Los Angeles is facing a water shortage, and outdoor water usage is currently cited as accounting for 1/3 of a typical family’s overall water consumption.2 The Rainwater Harvesting program helps to meet Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s water conservation goals by reducing the amount of potable water used for irrigation and other outdoor purposes. The program addresses stormwater pollution by capturing rain where it falls instead of focusing on end-of-the-line treatment once it reaches our waterways o A typical Los Angeles home directs an average of 9,600 gallons of water down its downspouts and into the storm drain system annually. Problem: This water may collect pollutants, including trash, pet waste, oil and grease or other chemicals. Solution: As an alternative, the Rainwater Harvesting program will allow homeowners to collect the rainwater and reduce the amount of rainwater pollution entering the Santa Monica Bay.12. How do I keep in touch with the LA Stormwater Program, or make sure that I’m the first to know about rainwater harvesting programs in other areas of the City? We recommend that you sign-up for our eNewsletter. People who subscribe to the LA Stormwater newsletter will be the first to find out about program updates including what we’re doing to protect water quality throughout the City of Los Angeles. You can sign up online at LArainwaterharvesting.org by clicking on this button:13. Any additional questions?Please contact Codi Harris at (562) 597-0205.2 http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/pubs/outdoor.htm