California drought: LA County catches 33 billion gallons of rainwater from winter storms

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The series of winter storms that have ravaged Southern California have resulted in the trapping of more than 33 billion gallons of rainwater that can be used as future drinking water in Los Angeles County, the county’s director of public works announced Monday.

According to the district, this amount of water could supply 816,000 people with water for a year.

“Any place that’s open land in LA has the potential to suck up water at a really big rate and dump it into aquifers,” said Mark Pestrella of the Public Works Department.

The rain may be gone, but the good news is that plenty of water remains.

The San Gabriel River has a series of dams known as the Valley Rubber Dams. They can be inflated to hold water if needed. The water is then slowly drained.

“We’re going to blow up these dams and they’re going to create a big pond of water and that water is going to seep into the river bed and take water out of it and direct it to other large areas called dispersal facilities, 27 total in LA County, where we actually have the land on it.” prepare to take on water at high speed,” Pestrella said.

According to official figures, about 98% of the stormwater runoff from the San Gabriel River and Rio Hondo Channel is conserved.

The County Public Works Department operates 14 major dams and 620 miles of rivers and flood control channels.

“Currently enough water to supply 816,000 people for a year,” said Pestrella. “To put it in other fun terms, it’s like four rose bowls filled to the brim with water.”

Officials said the future will include more local water supplies and less reliance on reservoirs in other parts of the state.

“Just think about it, six million people or a little less than six million people, we currently get about two-thirds of their drinking water supply from rainwater and I want the community to know how much we appreciate your confidence and trust to do this for them,” Pestrella said.

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. California drought: LA County catches 33 billion gallons of rainwater from winter storms

Laura Coffey

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