Los Angeles misses out on billions of gallons of local water each year. When rain hits impenetrable roads, parking lots, and sidewalks it escapes practical use by residents and nature, flowing down storm drains and often straight to the Pacific Ocean. Across the city and region, some community-based organizations and local public agencies have been working to capture more of this rainwater through green streets and urban wetland parks. Still, each of these projects requires tremendous technical expertise, time, and money to design and complete.
To do this, Council for Watershed Health set out to lower the barrier to entry for community advocates seeking to design their own green stormwater projects. The organization partnered with Pacoima Beautiful and Active San Gabriel Valley to plan and construct neighborhood-serving projects together. Building on Pacoima Beautiful’s success creating the Pacoima Wash Natural Park and greening plan, the trio are now sharing information and expertise learned through their process with the other community-based groups like Koreatown Youth and Community Center and Proyecto Pastoral. Over the past four years, the team has started new projects in the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, and East Los Angeles.
Pacoima Beautiful, Active San Gabriel Valley, and their partners are building out their green stormwater projects, including the Bradley Green Alley, Merced Avenue Greenway and a network of greenway corridors throughout the entire San Gabriel Valley. At the same time, they are sharing lessons and training other groups and communities on how to create new public green spaces. These projects are helping the region become more water self-sufficient. With more green stormwater capture projects, LA County could triple the amount of rainwater that it’s currently catching and using.