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State Water Board Seeks Public Comment On Storm Water Strategic Initiative

While storm water is typically viewed as a source of pollution that impairs water quality, it also represents a potential water source to offset drought-related shortages. As the pressure on water quality and supply in California increases, the utilization of storm water as a water source has become critical to drought mitigation efforts. As a result, the State Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Quality Control Boards (“Water Boards”) are working to augment and improve the quality of local water supplies through more effective storm water management.

In 2014, the Water Boards established the Storm Water Strategic Initiative (“Initiative”) and engaged stakeholders throughout the State to identify, develop, and implement innovative approaches to storm water regulation. The result of this collaborative effort is the Proposal to Develop a Storm Water Program Workplan and Implementation Strategy (“Proposal”), which identifies the goals, challenges, and actions needed for the Water Boards to improve the management and utilization of California’s storm water resources and presents twenty-two potential, strategic projects to achieve these goals.  Some of the projects include:

  • Adopting policies and permits that incentivize storm water capture and use;
  • Increasing the availability of grant and loan funding of storm water capture and use projects;
  • Evaluating alternative compliance approaches to meeting receiving water limitations in municipal storm water permits;
  • Improving access to storm water data online and enhancing the quality of available data; and
  • Identifying “true source control” pollution prevention measures, which are aimed at preventing the use of pollutants instead of removing them from storm water through treatment.

The twenty-two proposed strategic projects are detailed in the Proposal’s Appendix.

The State Water Board is providing a comment period to allow stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the Proposal and raise any other matters of concern.  The comment period closes on July 24, 2015.

The State Water Board will continue to actively engage stakeholders to shape the content and prioritization of projects through workshops later this summer (exact dates are yet to be determined).  Once the Action Plan is approved, the next phase of the Storm Water Program will consist of development of a final work plan and implementation strategy.