Thursday, 12 June 2014

Using Rainwater Runoff as a Resource

Local partnership receives state grant to promote and construct ground water recharge, water quality and flood management projects in Santa Cruz County

The County and City of Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley Water District, the Resource Conservation District (RCD) and the Regional Water Management Foundation have partnered to successfully secure $2,259,773 in Proposition 84 Stormwater Grant Program funds to complete four projects that enhance groundwater recharge, reduce flooding and foster countywide cooperation in reducing polluted rain water runoff (stormwater). The partners are contributing an additional $712,310 of local in-kind match to complete the projects. This effort continues a long tradition of collaboration among organizations working together to improve water quality and water supply in Santa Cruz.

The projects will demonstrate what is known as Low Impact Development or LID. LID is an approach to land development (or re-development) that works with nature to manage rainwater runoff on site instead of piping it out to the street and into storm drains where it may otherwise contribute to flooding and pollution problems. LID employs principles such as preserving and recreating natural landscape features, minimizing hardened surfaces where water can’t infiltrate into the ground, and creating functional and appealing site drainage systems that treat stormwater as a resource rather than a waste product. LID practices help with long term drought response by capturing stormwater, increasing groundwater recharge, and making water available for future use. There are many landscaping practices that can be used that follow these principles such as bioretention facilities, rain gardens, vegetated rooftops, rain barrels, and permeable pavements. By implementing LID principles and practices, water can be managed in a way that reduces the impact of built areas and promotes the movement of water in a more natural way. As water resources become scarcer and climate change alters rainfall and runoff patterns, it becomes more imperative to maximize the beneficial uses of water and reduce the long-term impacts of development.


Two projects slated for construction this fall will be in County parks. An infiltration facility will be installed at Brommer Street Park in Live Oak and multiple LID features will be included at the new Heart of Soquel Park in downtown Soquel. The City of Santa Cruz will be redeveloping a parking lot off Pacific Avenue, located behind the Catalyst, to include pervious concrete and bio-retention features. Additional projects in Scotts Valley will be constructed in late 2015.

The funding for these projects will also be used to develop case studies and provide outreach and hands-on technical assistance to homeowners, contractors, and developers throughout the County to further promote Low Impact Development. These same LID practices can be applied to individual homes and businesses.

If you would like to request technical assistance, find out about upcoming workshops and trainings, or get more specific information about each of the projects, visit or call 831-464-2950 x22.

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