This is the first chapter in the development of Water LA, established a grant from the California Coastal Conservancy. Our project area is adjacent to the Woodman Avenue Green Infrastructure Project (map at left), making it ideally situated for monitoring the impact of small scale and affordable residence-based strategies to decrease urban runoff and recharge groundwater stores.
At the completion of the project in 2014 the Water LA team and our Technical Advisory Committee will have developed city approved standard plans for six in-home Best Management Practices, including rain gardens, parkway retrofits, greywater systems, rain barrels, drywells & infiltration trenches, and hardscape removal/replacement. These standard plans will be available to all Los Angeles residents, empowering homeowners to make changes on their own.
The full project goals are:
Conduct Analysis, Geotechnical Investigations & Modeling. Our first goal is to capture rainwater and recharge the watershed. Using technical data collected at the start and throughout the life of the project, we will be able to determine current vs. optimum water flow rates for the areas, and to calculate pre- and post- project performance.
Develop City-approved "Green Residence" Standard Plans. Our second goal is to make it easy for Los Angeles homeowners to make changes to their properties that capture, conserve and reuse water. Working with the Technical Advisory Committee, our team will create a suite of water-harvesting retro-fit plans that Los Angeles residents will be able to access and implement well past the Water LA project. Plan development will go through several stages, gaining input from the TAC and work in the field as we go. The final product will be accessible and cost-effective, and easy for homeowners to implement without heavy permitting requirements.
Campus Audit and Retrofit. The Project Team will undertake a comprehensive water audit of Ranchito Elementary School, including an analysis of irrigation controllers, valves, sprinkler heads, irrigation zones, toilets and urinals. Then we'll prepare a diagnostic report of the amount of water used and the cost of that water, and work with campus administration to enhance water use efficiency. Plus, we'll utilize the topographic and flow data we gather to design a future rainwater harvesting garden(s) that will reduce runoff, help recharge groundwater, and add some native habitat to the campus.
Educational Workshops. WATER LA will offer a series of hands-on intensive educational workshops. Our core curricula will take you through the principles of watershed management, site evaluation, soil science & mulching principles, native plants, landscape design & irrigation, and maintenance. Our elective how-tos will walk you through the process of installing rain barrels, rain gardens, greywater systems, drywells, and etc., and demonstrate the proper way to break up concrete or kill your lawn.
Homeowners within the project area who are interested in retrofitting their properties will commit to 5 core and at lease 2 elective workshops. Participants will also commit to a personal investment of sweat equity in not only their project, but on at least one neighbor’s as well. Workshops will be open to everyone, but residents within the drainage area will be given priority.
Community Site Evaluations & Residential Site Surveys. How will you know which retrofits are best suited to your property? The WATER LA Team will lead a Community Site Evaluations where participants will be invited to walk through the evaluation process at 6 selected homes and ask questions of our experts. The sites will be chosen to highlight the different BMPs.
The Team will support participants in creating their own site evaluations, and residents will be able to use that information and the Water LA draft plans to design a Green Residence plan for their own properties. The Project Team will also provide plan reviews and consultations for participants as needed.
WATER LA Project Installations! Based on homeowners’ plans, the Project Team will source and acquire the equipment and materials necessary to complete Green Residence projects for eligible homeowners. The Team will be in the field for each installation, providing guidance and assistance, but each project will be homeowner driven.
Monitoring. Utilizing data collected by the Woodman Median project and results from our modeling and Site Evaluations, we'll develop and implement a “Before-After-Control-Impact” monitoring program to determine the WATER LA project's effectiveness.
Water quality and quantity data collected for the Woodman Median project will be used to compare the differences between the sub-watershed receiving treatment and the control sub-watershed (see map). Results from this monitoring program will allow the team to report scalable water quality, groundwater recharge and peak flow reduction values from the treated watershed.