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How LA County Captures Stormwater In Neighborhood Parks

An educational sign shows a diagram of a soccer field with a filtration system beneath it. In the background is a green fence surrounding a turf soccer field.
A filtration system beneath the soccer field and skate park at Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in south L.A. captures stormwater that can later be used for drinking water.
(Erin Stone
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If you take a trip to Franklin D. Roosevelt Park near Huntington Park, you’ll see a skateboard zone, a soccer field and a few polychromatic playgrounds. You’d definitely see Angelenos everywhere, young and old, enjoying the California sunshine.

Capturing Stormwater in LA County

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But did you know that underneath all of this infrastructure, there’s a massive filtration system that just might help us through times of drought?

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Brian De Los Santos, your How To LA podcast host extraordinaire, visited Franklin D. Roosevelt Park along with Producer Evan Jacoby and Reporter Erin Stone to talk to experts about how all this works.

This ONE filtration system at "Rose", as the kids in the latest episode called the park, might not be able to fix all of the issues by itself, but L.A. County officials have several stormwater projects across the county that could help store up some necessary water for us. Several of these projects are completed and more are underway.

So, what's the county’s goal? Officials want the stormwater to provide 70% of our drinking water. Right now, it just supplies 30% on average. It’s going to take 50 years due to the need for huge infrastructure changes.

Brian talked to Bruce Reznik, the executive director of LA WaterKeeper, a watchdog nonprofit organization that advocates for the preservation and protection of clean water. He said that the city started to get serious about 20 years ago and four years ago, the county passed Measure W, the Safe Clean Water Program, which offers funds to increase local water supply and quality. Over a billion dollars have been committed.

It’s taking time, Reznik said, but it’s making a slow difference. Through the stormwater projects, the county captured 400 million gallons out of the five to 10 billion gallons from last month’s winter storm season.

If we can start, doubling, tripling, where we're at now, that starts to be a meaningful source of water,” Reznik said.

But Reznik also cautioned the fact that we’ll be in a water crisis for a while.

“It’s our new normal,” Reznik said. “The reality is we have 10 million people in L.A. County and lots of businesses, and we all should be doing whatever we can. And the best way to address that is through these things like stormwater capture. It's gonna take all of us to do that, at the home level, at the business or commercial level, all the way up to more regional projects, with Measure W.”

Not only are these stormwater projects helping store up water for our future, the funds from the initiatives make city park infrastructure better.

I know you’re thirsty for more. Listen to the latest podcast episode to learn more about the process for our county’s recycling and filtering water at Franklin D. Roosevelt Park. And in case you missed it, read Erin Stone’s article about these stormwater projects across the county.

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As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

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Wait... One More Thing

The Top Three Tea-Sipping Trends

A large display on a stage shows several images of a mountain lion with large quotes excerpted from Facebook posts. A
The stage was set on Saturday morning for the P-22 Celebration of Life at the Greek Theater.
(Erin Stone

THREE — Red Carpet Grammy Looks

Glamour had all of the red carpet looks from Grammys night at the Arena. My personal favorite was Lizzo, Doja Cat and new EGOT winner Viola Davis. Check out the rest of the looks here.

TWO — The Winners of the Biggest Night For Music Lovers: The Grammys 

Sunday night was Grammy night and I’m still disappointed Bey and Jay did not invite me to the Roc Nation Brunch on Saturday. I’ll forgive her once she releases the prices for these concert tickets (*fingers crossed that they’re under the cost of rent). One thing I’ve always thought about was what it actually means financially for someone to be nominated for a Grammy and what it means to actually win one. NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas laid out the economics of the Grammys.

So who took home THE gilded gramophone at the most prestigious night for music?

ONE — Our Favorite Celebrity Cougar Honored at the Greek Theatre on Saturday 

P-22, who was once known as the coolest cat in L.A., was honored through music performances and sombering remarks from the humans who loved him the most this past Saturday. The celebration was only supposed to last for two hours, but it ended up being 3 and a half hours long. Beth Pratt, the National Wildlife Federation California regional director and emcee for the event said there were 6,000 people who were expected to be at the Greek Theatre. My colleagues Julia Paskin and Erin Stone attended the event and talked to his human adult fans about what P-22 meant to them.

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