LA Enhanced Water Management Plan

Anyone who saw the movie Chinatown knows that Los Angeles relies on water supplies located hundreds of miles from the City. About 1/3 comes from local groundwater, but more is needed to offset reductions in this distant supply as they are managed increasingly for environmental protection.

Stormwater could be a part of the solution, reducing the large volumes that runoff to the ocean and instead encouraging the water to infiltrate into local aquifers.  Pollutants in stormwater also degrade the coastal zone and beaches. When the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board passed landmark water quality regulations meant to significantly increase the quality of stormwater runoff and the amount that infiltrates, the initial reaction was shock at the scale and likely cost. The City of Los Angeles turned to Catalyst to conduct a programmatic environmental impact report to describe the environmental impacts and benefits of their proposed enhanced watershed management plan.

The document supported the City Council approving implementation of the game-changing proposals to make the City more permeable to groundwater infiltration and increase local water supplies.  The City also turned to Catalyst for environmental support for the first project in the plan: reducing bacteria in runoff in Ballona Creek. Catalyst’s participation early in the design process led to changes that enhanced the project but were easy to implement because the project was still conceptual. Enhanced outreach to neighborhood councils, City Council districts, and key stakeholders led to a smooth project that was on time and under budget.

Published on:
April 13, 2020

Article contributors

Dan Tormey
Ph.D., P.G
President, Technical Director

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