SANTA MONICA—On Tuesday, May 23, at 10:30 a.m., the city of Santa Monica unveiled its Stormwater Harvesting and Direct Use Demonstration Project at a ceremony at Los Amigos Park, located near John Muir Elementary School at 500 Hollister Avenue. Mayor Ted Winterer, Chief Sustainability Officer and Assistant Public Works Director Dean Kubani, City Engineer Rick Valte, and other officials were present at the event.

The project, financed by a grant from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) and the Clean Beaches and Ocean Parcel Tax (Measure V), is a collaborative effort between the city, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), and the MWD. It intends to move the community toward water self-sufficiency, water conservation, and reduced potable, or drinkable, water usage.

The majority of the project will be located in the northwest section of Los Amigos Park, near Hollister Avenue. The new system diverts stormwater from an existing storm drain along the adjacent 5th Street, through a pre-treatment system, and into an underground cistern for reuse in indoor flushing and field irrigation.

According to a May 17 press release from the city of Santa Monica, this development is the first retrofit project to harvest wet and dry weather urban runoff from an existing storm drain for multiple purposes. Officials expect the project to save approximately 550,000 gallons of drinking water a year and conserve the quality of the Santa Monica Bay.

“The project offers another step towards the City’s plan for water self-sufficiency, another step tying into its long-term 2020 Sustainable Water Master Plan,” officials stated in the press release. “It will provide results on design, installation, and operation, which will be relevant and transferable to other projects and help break down barriers to local water resource development.”

The use of unsustainable water and the amount of water pollution to a local water body are expected to be reduced through this method. The resulting data from the demonstration project will be shared with water management professionals to illustrate the benefits of harvesting water.