Fighting Drought with Stormwater

Water-scarce urban areas in California miss out on billions of gallons of fresh water each year  as rain washes into storm drains and out to sea. A nearly $2 million grant-funded project seeks to transform University of California campuses into living laboratories that show how urban storm water can safely augment water supplies and minimize flood risk. Through coordinated research, modeling, and engagement with university officials and regulatory agencies, the research team will develop the science, engineering and policy innovations needed to usher in a new era of treating storm water as a resource rather than a liability.

Greg Pierce, associate director of research for the Luskin Center for Innovation, is part of the research team comprised of faculty, staff and students from all five southern University of California campuses that received the grant from UC’s Multi-campus Research Programs and Initiatives.  Their role on the larger team is to examine how universities compare to cities in terms of governance and financial capacity to invest in green infrastructure, and how to overcome barriers in capacity to enhance storm water capture more broadly in the region. The work has included a comparative analysis of how various cities are approaching stormwater capture and management, and why.