Stormcatcher Cistern Pilot Program

Conceived and coordinated by TreePeople, this pilot-to-scale project, also known as the Greater L.A. Water Collaborative, is a collaboration between the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Bureau of Sanitation and the Storm Water Division of the City of Los Angeles  Department of Public Works. 

TetraTech, the leading engineering consultant engaged Urban Water Group, Inc. to design an install automated rainwater capture systems and drought resilient landscapes at six residential sites across Los Angeles. Rainwater storage capacity ranges from 860 to 3,574 gallons at each site; the three agencies remotely monitor and control the release of stored water for the purposes of studying how residential scale cisterns could be used to recharge aquifers, flush pollutants from the streets, and treat urban runoff and sewage. 

A variety of above and underground tank storage systems were designed to conform to typical residential yard conditions. Some or all of the existing landscape at each site was renovated with climate-appropriate plants, and where appropriate, infiltration pits, rain gardens and berms constructed to capture and infiltrate excess capacity from the rainwater storage tanks and treat runoff generated from hardscape surfaces.

The automated systems use forecasted weather data to determine when and how much stored water to release prior to impending storms, sending the water to infiltrate, irrigate or flush pollutants from the streets as appropriate for each site. 

Test results from these six sites are being used to formulate a program to potentially install automated rainwater capture systems on a majority of residential properties throughout the City of Los Angeles.