On Jan. 6, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted a strategy that advances stormwater management statewide. The new strategy views stormwater as a resource for present and future water supply needs.

Unmanaged stormwater runoff presents a threat to human life and property, and it is a significant source of water quality pollution. However, California’s stormwater strategy promotes the value of stormwater for multiple benefits, including groundwater replenishment and habitat improvement.

“The drought, and the specter of more frequent droughts due to climate change, requires us to dramatically rethink how we manage stormwater in California,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “Stormwater should no longer be viewed as a nuisance, but instead embraced as an immediate and future water resource.”

Proper planning for stormwater harvesting will enable communities to improve local flood control and water quality while recharging groundwater and ensuring a more reliable water supply, Marcus said. Simultaneously, this infrastructure can contribute to urban greening to the benefit of Californians.

The strategy comes from the California Water Action Plan, released in January 2014. This plan calls for multibenefit stormwater management solutions and more efficient permitting programs. The California Water Boards support local partnerships and collaboration to identify effective ways to further integrate watershed management, multiple-benefit solutions, and source control for stormwater management efficiency and effectiveness.

California’s stormwater strategy identifies goals, objectives, and actions for the State Water Board and Regional Water Boards to continue to improve the regulation, management, and use of California’s stormwater resources.