Los Angeles County has collected enough rain water this season to serve the water needs of more than a million residents for a year, according to the county’s most recent official numbers.
From last October to March, a total of 41 billion gallons have been collected along the San Gabriel and Los Angeles rivers, according to the Los Angeles County Public Works Department.
"After five to six years of being in a drought, this is one of our wetter years," said Kerjon Lee, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Public Works Department. "What we've seen is that while a lot of storm water has been captured, a lot of it has also been absorbed by the dry soil."
Due to a lack of speading grounds to capture water, most of the storm water ends up being lost to the Pacific. Katie Mika of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability said developments that capture water need to be carried through along the Los Angeles River.
"We have made a lot of progress on capturing stormwater but there is still lots of room to capture more," Mika said. "Continuing to implement the projects that have been identified and planned such as increasing the ability of large spreading grounds to hold more water and let more water soak into the groundwater there is really important to keep building our capacity to capture stormwater when we get it."
Lee said there are a few spreading ground developments in the works for Los Angeles County to increase the amount of stormwater it captures. The Tujunja Spreadings Grounds Project, which is a series of spreading basins and new intake structures, broke ground this past winter and is expected to allow more stormwater to be captured and conserved in the San Fernando Basin by spring of 2018.
The project would increase the local water supply while reducing dependence on expensive imported water, according to the Department of Public Works.
Other projects in the county expected to improve the amount of stormwater captured for residential use include the enhancement of recharge operations at the Santa Anita Spreading Grounds.