Smart Cisterns Could Make L.A. Rooftops Stormwater Catchers
If a pilot study powered by cloud technology proves cisterns to be a good solution to offset potable water needs, the city of Los Angeles, Calif. may install millions of them.
By Andrea Fox, EfficientGov Senior Editor
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- Since last November, the city and several partners have been testing technologically-advanced cisterns at eight residential properties in L.A. County as part of a first public-private stormwater partnership, according to the Water Environment Federation (WEF).
The cisterns are linked to cloud-based controls, so they can be operated remotely and the data gleaned can help determine how effective the cisterns are at diverting stormwater away from storm drains that ultimately run to the Pacific Ocean. Data collected from the smart cisterns will help the city determine how practical wider installation might be in helping to offset the potable water demands the city and the region struggle with.
The project, by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, Department of Public Works, Department of Water and Power, and Bureau of Sanitation along with engineering firm Tetra Tech and the nonprofit TreePeople, uses stormwater modeling data to predict water collection levels in the cisterns. A valve can be opened to release water before it rains, if need be. The cisterns collect water through underground pipes that are fed by the roof. The water from the cisterns flows to rain gardens that help recharge underground aquifers, and homeowners can access the water to wash cars, water trees, bathe dogs, etc...