California, a state that’s experiencing an unprecedented drought, might be getting an unusually wet winter. El Niño, characterized by unusually warm temperatures on the surface of the Pacific Ocean, typically brings a significant amount of rainfall to the dry southwest United States.
TreePeople, an environmental nonprofit based in Los Angeles, is trying to make sure that all that rainwater doesn’t go to waste—or worse, cause intense flooding. The group has teamed up with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and other agencies in the region on the LA StormCatcher Project, an initiative to retrofit L.A. houses with a rooftop rain collection system that will turn rainy days into future hydration.
The first pilot system, installed in North Hollywood, includes a stormwater collection system on a 900-square-foot roof, which connects to a 1320-gallon cistern that controls and supplies water to a backyard garden. The cistern is programmed to anticipate rainfall (it’s connected to the Internet) and adjust its irrigation flow accordingly. The system is designed to capture up to 7000 gallons of rainwater per year, and help funnel that water back into the region’s groundwater supply.
Image Credit: TreePeople
Of course, one house will not be enough to save Southern California from its drought. Here's hoping the pilot program gets off the ground before winter is over.