KCET SoCal Connected: Capturing Rainwater One Rain Barrel at a Time

Last month during the height of the scant LA rainfall, KCET SoCal Connected’s Val Zavala interviewed our Founder and President, Andy Lipkis on the importance of capturing every drop that falls to wean our city off imported water and strengthen our local water supply.

 Read on for the full story and be sure to watch his interview with Zavala.

You can bet that it doesn’t rain cats and dogs here in Southern California. But that’s no excuse not to prepare and capture the rain that does fall.

The city of Los Angeles has implemented a program encouraging residents to use rain barrels — which can store up to 50 gallons of water — to reduce runoff in the midst of a historic drought. The goal is to prevent valuable water from gushing out into the streets.

Some residents like Emily Green of Altadena is capturing 90 percent of all the rain that falls on her property. She uses wine barrels to water a small backyard orchard, preventing water from running into the storm drain system. Rainwater is much better for plants because it doesn’t contain chlorine or other chemicals, says Green. Her goal is to retain as much water as possible on her property, and away from the storm drain system so she can reuse it in her garden, and prevent polluted water from flowing into our oceans.

Andy Lipkis, founder and president of TreePeople, is a big proponent of installing rain barrels. “This is all something we can do quickly. We can put a small 50 gallon or larger tank to help us get through the drought,” said Lipkis.

Our current drainage system is designed to get rain away from our homes and into the gutters as quickly as possible. But, says Lipkis, this old system has to change especially as the effects of climate change arrive.” We have more intense storms coming. Our storm drains may not be big enough for what’s coming. Our water supply is diminishing rapidly because of the changing climate,” he said.

Lipkis says there are also bigger projects that can make an impact on a whole community. He points to Elmer Avenue in Sun Valley as an example of a street in Los Angeles that is designed to capture thousands of gallons of storm water that collects in a local aquifer.

Explore the potential of capturing rain in this segment by anchor Val Zavala.

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By Jessica Jewell

Jessica is TreePeople’s Director of Marketing and Communications. A native Southern Californian, you can find her wandering local trails, hanging out with her sidekick, Penny the Rescue Puppy, on her yoga mat, reading some Phillip K. Dick, or in her kitchen cooking up vegan confections.

Jessica's professional background goes back to her time working at PETA where she worked on celebrity campaigns, and a stint in the entertainment industry, where she worked at Technicolor on their Global Marketing Team.