How the Impacts of Urbanization Are Being Addressed in the Los Angeles River Watershed

by Michael Drennan, P.E.,
Gary Moore, P.E.,
Andy Lipkis,
Steve Davis,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Watershed Management and Operations Management 2000


Due to an increased interest and concern about the Los Angeles urban environment, studies have begun to focus on the local water cycle and the impact of impervious land on the Los Angeles River. Findings from initial studies indicate that during the 1990s, - approximately half of the rain that fell in the watershed turned into runoff (which flowed to the ocean). Prior to 1930, less than 10 percent of the rain turned into runoff leaving 95 percent of the runoff to infiltrate into the subsurface. As the region continues to develop, (approximately 60 percent is currently urbanized) the opportunities for rainfall to naturally infiltrate into the groundwater aquifers are reduced. With an ever-increasing population and even greater water demands, greater efforts to capture and direct storm water runoff for recharge purposes instead of ocean water discharge makes sense. This paper describes two efforts by various publicly funded agencies and organizations to test new technologies in the watershed to address the impacts of urbanization and imperviousness.

Subject Headings: Runoff | Watersheds | Water discharge | Rivers and streams | Urban areas | Urban and regional development | Municipal water | California | United States | Los Angeles

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