Project 1a: Promote Storm Water Capture and Use & Project 1b: Identify and Eliminate Barriers to Storm Water Capture and Use

California State University Sacramento Office of Water Programs has initiated the following scope of work

Task 1 - Write a Draft Stormwater Capture and Use Report

  • Definition and Types of Stormwater Capture and Use
  • Summarize existing capture and use benefits and discuss how the benefits may or may not apply to California
  • Identify current examples of successful stormwater capture and use and identify key factors affecting success
  • Identify barriers (technical, legal, institutional, logistical, political, financial, regulatory, environmental, etc.) to expansion of stormwater capture and use in California and the level of effort required to surmount them
  • Describe how the stormwater capture and use definition, benefits, implementation options, and barrier removal options identified align with Water Code 10563 and the Proposition 1 Stormwater Grant Program Guidelines for developing Storm Water Resource Plans

Task 2 - Convene a TAC to review the draft report. The TAC shall include individuals with expertise in the technical, legal, regulatory, institutional, and environmental aspects of stormwater capture and use

Project Contact Information

Project Lead:
Chris Beegan
(916) 341-5912

What's New

Reasonable Assurance Analysis (RAA) is designed to provide confidence that long-term watershed planning to improve water quality will succeed. However, any plan that predicts future success has some level of uncertainty. This SCCWRP authored report attempts to address some of the uncertainty associated with effectiveness of flow-through structural best management practices (BMPs) by compiling and summarizing BMP treatment effectiveness (i.e., influent vs effluent) monitoring data specifically from California.

In June, the Water Board executed a contract with California State University Sacramento Office of Water Programs. See the Project Details tab for additional information.

Project Description


Very High, Assessment: Critically important, achievable with moderate obstacles

Project Objective

  1. Develop strategies and set regionally-based goals to increase storm water capture and use.
  2. Identify actions required to eliminate existing legal/regulatory, logistic, and technical barriers to the implementation of storm water capture and beneficial use and begin to implement them.


  1. Identify existing storm water capture and use strategies the Water Boards are successfully utilizing to maintain and restore storm water infiltration and achieve multiple benefits such as, flood control, drought and climate change preparedness, water supply augmentation, groundwater recharge, water quality improvement, habitat restoration and protection, and recreational uses (open space). Consider broadening the use of existing strategies, where appropriate, for implementation throughout the state. Consider new opportunities to increase storm water capture and use. Identify how to align Water Board programs addressing conservation, recycled water, and groundwater management with storm water capture actions that implement multiple benefit projects. With this information, produce regionally-based metrics (or a suite of metrics) for short-term and long-term storm water capture and beneficial use goals. In the project documentation, include the technical rationale and scientific basis of the goals, and implementation requirements including quantifiable measures indicating attainment of the project goal(s). Additionally, commit to the goals and any metrics developed for quantifying the expected storm water capture and beneficial use.
  2. Increase understanding and address the limitations to the capture and use of storm water. Barriers are diverse and include technical, political, legal/regulatory, and logistical issues, and may differ from region to region. The analysis of technical barriers include: (1) technical feasibility challenges often encountered when attempting storm water quality retrofit projects; (2) a description of high-potential urban retrofit project types to support storm water treatment, infiltration and groundwater augmentation (such as detention, retention, and catch basin retrofits); and (3) a summary of potential risks to groundwater quality from infiltration-based storm water management designs (e.g., infiltration basins, bioretention, dry wells) and methods to avoid potential contamination. Identify and evaluate legal considerations, including water rights, instream environmental impacts, and storm water infiltration in adjudicated and non-adjudicated basins. Logistical barrier considerations may include the unintended consequences on public health due to vector control issues (1). Identify and, where feasible, implement follow-up actions to address the identified barriers.


This project represents continued steps forward from the storm water reuse goal identified in the State Water Board’s Recycled Water Policy (as amended in State Water Board Resolution 2013-003), by establishing detailed, regionally-based goals and quantifiable performance measures. The current drought has created additional pressure on the state to manage its water resources more effectively, as reflected by the goal in Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-29-15 to reduce statewide water use by 25 percent. Beyond drought response, storm water projects that provide multiple benefits, in addition to storm water capture and treatment, present opportunities for better buy-in by communities. For example, well-conceived storm water resource projects can provide additional public benefits including increased space for public recreation, increased tree canopy, and increased stream and riparian habitat area, resulting in an overall increased sense of ownership and pride in the natural infrastructure and community empowerment. By establishing a statewide goal for storm water capture and beneficial use, the State Water Board will lead the state’s effort to incorporate storm water capture and use in its management of water resources. A statewide storm water capture and use goal will serve as the impetus to implement storm water capture and multiple benefit projects, such as Projects 1b and 1c below. The State Water Board acknowledges that in order to achieve such a goal, local and regional agencies must cooperate and implement their own independent mandates that support the goal. Some agencies, such as the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority’s “One Water, One Watershed” Plan have already benefited from a comprehensive approach that treats storm water as a resource.

Furthermore, storm water capture projects are often hindered by concerns related to: water quality, water rights, stream and wetland ecosystem impacts, and funding. Guidance on the technical aspects of determining water quality treatment needs for different types of use, identification of appropriate stream hydrographs, and legal opinions on water rights implications, is needed before many stakeholders can support increased storm water capture and use and funding of such projects. Financial barriers to storm water capture and use are addressed in Project 6b.

Products and Timelines

Contractor Products

  1. Spring 2018: 2018 Final Report: Enhancing Urban Runoff Capture and Use

Staff Products

  1. Spring 2019: Develop for Board consideration draft guidance addressing legal and technical barriers to implementing storm water capture and use projects.
  2. 2019 - 2020: Conduct statewide outreach and educational workshops to assist with storm water capture and use.

Pilot Projects

1) Central Coast Region, Developing guidance on the use of dry wells for enhanced stormwater infiltration, statewide, 2) Nina Danza, Santa Clara Reach 1 Project, Oxnard. 3) CCEEB, Oppurtunities and barriers to increasing stormwater capture and use, Lakewood.

(1) The Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California (www.mvcac) created a white paper titled, "How Better Planning and Use of the California Environmental Quality Act Can Prevent Mosquitoes and Vector-Borne Disease" discussing the benefits for developers, natural resources and public health when adding vector control considerations to local government project planning and design.