Stormwater Storage Will Help Satisfy LA Needs - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Stormwater Storage Will Help Satisfy LA Needs

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UPDATE:

The L.A. County Department of Public Works says the storm generated about 14,300 acre feet of water, or enough to service 114,400 people for a year. In case you are wondering, an "acre foot" in about a football field's worth of foot-deep of water.

To buy that much water would cost the county $14.3 million, so this is good news.

PREVIOUSLY:

While you're sloshing through little puddles as the current series of storms passes through, there are others trying to create mega-puddles of water for you to use and drink. We are talking about puddles the size of multiple football fields.

They are called spreading grounds, where water is collected and seeps into underground basins.

In the Pico Rivera area, for example, when it rains, water drops into the Whittier Narrows Dam up above and into the Rio Hondo Coastal Spreading Grounds down below. It's one of 26 huge spreading grounds and, when full, it can hold enough water for 28,000 people. I asked Anthony Ward, who works at the site, how it works. He explained that  water from the Rio Hondo Channel comes into a basin where water is separated from debris and goes into a cleaner one to spread into the system.

Officials with the LA County Department of Public Works tell me that in a normal year -- using all 26 catch basins - they'll capture enough water to provide for 1.9 million people. 

 So far, this year, with only a couple of weeks left in their storm season, they have captured enough for 485,000 -- about 25%.  Rich Atwater with the Southern California Water Committee says, "This rain is not a drought-buster.  We need a whole lot more rain to resolve the problems of the drought, but it's a step in the right direction." He adds,  "We're in a drought, a very serious drought, but in storing the storm water and not letting it go down the LA River or the San Gabriel River to the ocean,  it really is the key to our water strategy to avoid a shortage in the region."

So, how much of the rain that falls ends up being for you to use or drink? Quite a bit.  It accounts for about 75% of the drinking water in the San Gabriel Valley and, in the six county area, about 15%.

Since the latest storm started,  they've captured enough water to 28,000 people. Sounds like a lot, but remember in a normal year they would get enough for almost 2 million.

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