Applying a Long-Term Vision and Integrated Approach to State-of-the Art Stormwater Infrastructure Planning in the City of Los Angeles
During the last century, the City of Los Angeles (City) has imported the majority of its water supply from far away and discharged nearly all of its treated wastewater in the Pacific Ocean. To prepare for a more sustainable future, the City prepared its first Integrated Water Resources Plan (IRP) in 2006. This plan was the start of a paradigm shift for the City and resulted in significant achievements through implementation of its recommendations for better wastewater management and water recycling. However, the water landscape in the City has changed drastically with increased population, new regulations, competing interest for water, a severe statewide drought, and threats of climate change.
In response to these changes, the City recently embarked on the system-wide One Water LA 2040 Plan. This large-scale plan will provide a strategic vision and implementation plan to manage its water resources and build sustainable water infrastructure for the entire City. This plan builds upon the great success of the IRP, which had a planning horizon of year 2020. The One Water LA 2040 Plan takes a holistic and collaborative approach, to consider all water resources from surface water, groundwater, potable water, gray water, wastewater, recycled water, and stormwater as "One Water." The plan identifies multi-departmental and multi-agency integration opportunities to manage water in a more efficient, cost effective, and sustainable manner.
The One Water LA 2040 Plan represents the City's improved way and unchanged commitment to proactively manage all its water resources and implement innovative solutions in the face of a challenging multiple-owner, multiple-constraint, and multiple-element system. The Plan will guide the City with strategic and multi-billion dollar decisions for water infrastructure projects that will make Los Angeles a resilient and sustainable City. The City is also subject to multiple Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) with rapidly approaching compliance deadlines, creating a real urgency for integrated planning efforts.
As part of the One Water LA 2040 Plan, the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation (LASAN) is developing a ground-breaking Stormwater Infrastructure Master Plan. The recommended Capital Improvement Program (CIP) will be tailored to specific system opportunities, including present and future demands being placed on the City’s stormwater and urban runoff system, and planned and future projects and programs. System considerations will be assessed, weighed, and integrated into the stormwater system analysis and improvement program. Analysis areas include flood risk management, water quality requirements, water supply goals, stormwater recycling opportunities, river and stream restoration, green infrastructure opportunities, and climate change impacts, and integrated. The potential opportunity to utilize sewers to convey stormwater due to the declining wastewater flows as result of the success in water conservation is just one example of the integrated assessment. Another assessment area includes the challenges associated with stormwater recharges from a water rights perspective due to the presence of multiple groundwater basins and agencies.
Recommendations for long term CIP planning, as well as anticipated project costs, funding opportunities, and a practical approach to project prioritization will be developed and presented. Audience participation will be encouraged through interactive multiple choice questions, with response by a show of hands.
The Stormwater Infrastructure Master Plan will provide other municipalities an example of a cutting-edge stormwater improvement program, considering the core responsibilities of multiple departments, and integrating other local water issues including waste water, groundwater, and drinking water. The City’s investment will result in a visionary and practical tool for the long-term management and stewardship of stormwater and the associated infrastructure.