On Aug. 16, an op-ed penned by Sheila Kuehl, supervisor for Los Angeles County’s third district, appeared in the Los Angeles Daily News. The piece endorses a California Senate bill that would close a loophole in current legislation that excludes stormwater management from existing water conservation programs (S.B. 1298).
The editorial constitutes a step in the right direction for policymakers in that it recognizes the application of green infrastructure and stormwater reuse as solutions that should be applied more widely, particularly in drought-ravaged California.
“Last fall, a single storm dropped more than 2.5 inches of rain on Los Angeles, 10 times the amount of precipitation we usually get at that time of year,” Kuehl writes. “All that water went to waste. It didn’t help our tree canopy, replenish groundwater aquifers or reduce our dependence on imported water. Instead, the downpour caused flooding with most of the water flowing directly into the ocean, taking with it tons of trash, oil, and other pollutants.”
Stressing pollution reduction and water reuse as an imperative, Kuehl’s piece presents the case for green infrastructure, which she says can reduce California’s vulnerability to future droughts, beautify its communities, create well-paid jobs, and save crucial funding for other priorities.
“Currently, the biggest obstacle facing our region is that our urban landscape isn’t ready to absorb water,” she writes “We’ve paved over nature’s ability to do her job. We can fix this problem. We know how to reshape our concrete basin into a ‘green sponge’ by building regional and neighborhood-scale water capture projects.”
A representative of Los Angeles since late 2014, Kuehl previously served on the California Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and on the budget subcommittee for Water, Energy and Transportation, during which time she sponsored 171 bills that were signed into law.
- Read the full op-ed, “Manage stormwater to turn a liability into an asset”.
- Find more information on S.B. 1298.
- See a biography of County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.