Today the city of Los Angeles took a giant step forward on its long-promised goal to green itself -- one new development at a time. After three years of negotiations, hearings, educational forums and technical discussions, the City Council voted 12-0 to support a Low Impact Development ordinance.
The vote means that nearly all new development and redevelopment in Los Angeles will have to treat rainwater as a resource rather than just a flood risk by early next summer. The approach is groundbreaking (or concrete breaking) in its wide-ranging application to all significant new and redevelopment – even single family homes.
So what does it mean from a practical point of view?
All new and redevelopment must capture and reuse or infiltrate 100% of the runoff generated by a three-quarter inch rain. As a result, development will be greener, flood control risks and runoff pollution will be reduced, and local groundwater supplies will be augmented. Single family homes will only have to include rain barrels, cisterns, rain gutter downspout redirects to landscaping, or rain gardens to comply with the ordinance.