California Code, Water Code - WAT § 10561

The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:

(a) In many parts of the state stormwater and dry weather runoff are underutilized sources of surface water and groundwater supplies.  Instead of being viewed as a resource, they are often seen as a problem that must be moved to the ocean as quickly as possible or as a source of contamination, contributing to a loss of usable water supplies and the pollution and impairment of rivers, lakes, streams, and coastal waters.

(b) Improved management of stormwater and dry weather runoff, including capture, treatment, and reuse by using the natural functions of soils and plants, can improve water quality, reduce localized flooding, and increase water supplies for beneficial uses and the environment.

(c) Most of California's current stormwater drainage systems are designed to capture and convey water away from people and property rather than capturing that water for beneficial uses.

(d) Historical patterns of precipitation are predicted to change and an increasing amount of California's water is predicted to fall not as snow in the mountains, but as rain in other areas of the state.  This will likely have a profound and transforming effect on California's hydrologic cycle and much of that water will no longer be captured by California's reservoirs, many of which are located to capture snow melt.

(e) When properly designed and managed, the capture and use of stormwater and dry weather runoff can contribute significantly to local water supplies through onsite storage and use, or letting it infiltrate into the ground to recharge groundwater, either onsite or at regional facilities, thereby increasing available supplies of drinking water.

(f) New developments and redevelopments should be designed to be consistent with low-impact development principles to improve the retention, use, and infiltration of stormwater and dry weather runoff onsite or at regional facilities.

(g) Stormwater and dry weather runoff can be managed to achieve environmental and societal benefits such as wetland creation and restoration, riverside habitats, instream flows, and an increase in park and recreation lands, and urban green space.

(h) Stormwater and dry weather runoff management through multiobjective projects can achieve additional benefits, including augmenting recreation opportunities for communities, increased tree canopy, reduced urban heat island effect, and improved air quality.

(i) Proper planning and implementation is vital to ensure that the water supply and other benefits potentially available through better management of stormwater and dry weather runoff do not come at the expense of diminished water quality.

(j) The capture and use of stormwater and dry weather runoff is not only one of the most cost-effective sources of new water supplies, it is a supply that can often be provided using significantly less energy than other sources of new water supplies.


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