The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission has provided a grant to the city of Los Angeles for a new rainwater harvesting pilot program in the Mar Vista, Sawtelle and Jefferson communities, which will provide free assistance to residents and commercial businesses to collect rainwater for storage and use.

The program’s aim is to reduce the amount of polluted rainwater that runs into the ocean and the Department of Public Works hopes to enlist at least 600 property owners by fall 2009.

Residents who sign up for the program will be eligible for complementary installations of rain barrels, downspout disconnections or planter boxes. The retained rainwater will then be routed for on-site irrigation.

“Rainwater is a natural resource. Harvesting that resource locally by collecting rainwater is one of the easiest and most profoundly important things a person can do,” said Lisa Cahill, citizen forestry manager for TreePeople.

A typical L.A. home directs an average of 14,000 gallons of water down it’s drains and into the storm drain system each year. By capturing rainwater, residents can reduce pollution entering the Santa Monica Bay and adhere to the Department of Water and Power’s newest water conservation requirements.

“This program sets an important first step for future citywide roll-out. Our hope is that the pilot areas will begin the momentum needed to generate interest in harvesting rainwater throughout the entire community,” said Wing Tam, program manager for the rainwater harvesting program.

Call (562) 597-0205 or visit www.LArainwaterharvesting.org for more information.

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