Water Stewardship During Storm Season

Attention all pluviophiles: Los Angeles is officially in its rainy season. Really! Here at LA Waterkeeper, we’re eagerly refreshing our weather forecast websites and scanning the clouds, hoping to see some raindrops shortly.

Stormwater in LA carries particular significance for us — not only because it provides necessary relief to our water tables during our current drought, or because it’s a source of delight to see our fellow Angelenos in awe when it finally appears. We jump into action when rain is approaching because stormwater is the main source of pollution to our waterways.

Contaminants, such as bacteria, greases and metals, build up on our largely impervious pavements during dry weather, and then rapidly wash into our storm drains, streams and ocean when rain comes. These pollutants negatively affect the health of our aquatic ecosystems long after the rain stops.

That’s why we engage teams across Los Angeles as part of our Community Water Watch (CWW) program, taking critical water quality samples and observations of stormwater pollution, particularly in industrial areas. This data collection supports our legal and advocacy work. To join one of our CWW teams, please contact melissavm@lawaterkeeper.org.

Collecting water samples with a Community Water Watch team. 2016.

Collecting water samples with CWW.

How Else Can You Help?

There are many ways to become a stormwater steward, however, particularly by taking action even before it rains. Here are some tips for reducing pollution in our waterways:

  • Make sure you don’t litter, and consider picking up trash you notice on the street
  • Report illegally dumped items to 1-888-8Dumping
  • When changing the fluids in your car, call 1-888-CLEAN-LA or go to 888CleanLA.com to find a certified station to recycle them
  • Clean up after your dog
  • Use non-toxic alternatives to pesticides in your gardens
  • Consider replacing your lawn with native plants and water-saving landscaping that can capture and infiltrate water immediately
  • Continue to conserve water in and around your home; for example, turn off your sprinklers and let mother nature do the watering for you!

Wanted: Photos of Runoff

water-reporterShow us polluted run-off that you observe in your community through submitting photos to the Water Reporter! Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the Water Reporter app
  2. Join the Los Angeles Waterkeeper group
  3. Snap a picture of run-off either during a storm or on a dry weather day, and share it with us!
  4. You’ve helped us to map pollution concerns across LA County.
    We will notify the appropriate authorities as well.

Collecting water samples with the Maywood RAFT.

Rather not get drenched?

If you’re more of a dry weather run-off person, join us for our River Assessment Fieldwork Team (RAFT) program in which we monitor water quality and ecological health indicators on the LA River two Saturdays a month.

Thanks for helping us to reduce pollution in our waterways, rain or (more likely) shine!


Authored by Melissa von Mayrhauser.

Contact Us

LA Waterkeeper
120 Broadway, Suite 105
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Email: info@lawaterkeeper.org
Phone: 310-394-6162
Fax: 310-394-6178

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