By Jen Kinney.
Amid California’s ongoing drought, Los Angeles is testing a stone-age technology with a modern spin: cisterns that are connected to the cloud.
Through the StormCatcher pilot program, about a half-dozen private homes are getting cisterns, as well as infiltration-friendly landscaping and rainwater capture retrofits. Rainwater from each property will be diverted into “smart cisterns” connected to a cloud-based software. If rain is in the forecast and the cistern is full, the program will slowly release water into the newly bioswaled yard, making space for the coming storm.
“It’s an old technology but a new mindset,” says Deborah Bloome, senior director of policy forTreePeople, a long-established L.A. nonprofit with a mission to increase collaborative governance around environmental issues.
Last year, to encourage a more systems-based approach to stormwater management, TreePeople brought three of Los Angeles’ water-related agencies together to collaborate, the Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the Bureau of Sanitation (LASAN), and the County Flood Control District (LACFCD).
“We all have a very common interest in stormwater,” says Marty Adams, senior assistant general manager for the water system at LADWP. “But we all have a little different responsibilities for it.”