San Diego Regional Stormwater Resource Plan – Integrating Stormwater Capture and Use with Stormwater and Watershed Management
California Senate Bill (SB) 985, amending the Stormwater Resource Planning Act, requires public agencies to develop Storm Water Resource Plans (SWRPs) in order to assist in developing multi-benefit stormwater management solutions and to be eligible to receive grants for storm water and dry weather runoff capture projects under Proposition 1 and any future bond measure through the state. The County of San Diego and the San Diego County Copermittees prepared the San Diego Regional SWRP for nine watershed management areas within the County. The SWRP lists and prioritizes in a quantitative manner projects that include storm water capture for potential future use that also provide multiple benefits to maximize water supply, water quality, and environmental and other community benefits. The SWRP quantifies projects on watershed and regional basis through an on-line scoring tool, and prioritizes projects by the number of benefits achieved and its assessment and prioritization through existing plans. The SWRP is one of the first “functional equivalent” SWRP in that it heavily references existing plans that include watershed-specific Water Quality Improvement Plans and Integrated Regional Watershed Management (IRWM) Plan. The implementation of the SWRP that includes coordinating the submission of projects as part of the IRWM Online Project Tracking and Integration (OPTI) web-site will be coordinated through the IRWM program. By bringing these plans together, this plan provides the tools for project sponsors to work regionally and on a watershed basis to more effectively integrate storm water projects that provide multiple benefits. The SWRP project integrated analysis and prioritization tools encourage the integration of storm water water quality strategies, for example, with creek and wetland restoration projects and flood management measures, where feasible.
Projects can also achieve higher scores by providing quantification of benefits using the metrics and quantification worksheets in the SWRP. Further quantification and prioritization is conducted for projects that have water quality and/or water supply as a key benefit through a comparison of the quantitative level of benefit achieved with other projects and in relation to the overall watershed targets (e.g. pollutant load reductions) or opportunities (e.g. volume of feasible storm water capture and use). The SWRP provide a valuable planning tool that encourages collaboration within a watershed to develop multi-benefit projects that achieve a higher level of benefit on a watershed and regional basis. The online SWRP project checklist and listing tool is part of the IRWM regional project database. The SWRP project list and prioritization is continually update through this online system.
This plan will be used for further more detailed assessment of storm water capture and beneficial use opportunities and constraints for local water augmentation and recycled water in the Regional Storm Water Capture and Use Feasibility Study (SWCFS). The SWCFS is currently underway and will provide an additional planning tool to integrate storm water capture and use with storm water and watershed management.
The SWRP and the online prioritization tools are relevant to attendees that are involved watershed and stormwater planning efforts that include developing multi-benefit stormwater management solutions that may include developing SWRPs that integrate with other watershed and stormwater plans. It is also relevant for attendees that are interested in methods to provide updates to SWRPs and project lists to expand eligibility to new projects. The online OPTI system developed for this SWRP allows project sponsors to access the project database at any time to enter new projects or update existing ones. The presentation will engage the audience in a demonstration of the online tools that include project scoring and prioritization.
Stephanie Gaines is a Project Manager for the County of San Diego Department of Public Works Watershed Protection Program
Dr. Pohl is a Program Manager at ESA in the Environmental Hydrology Group. He is licensed professional engineer with more than 30 years of experience including storm water and watershed management and creek and wetlands restoration. His storm water management experience includes NPDES permit compliance, BMP design and assessment, and stormwater capture and beneficial use.