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Santa Monica - Water Quality Case Study
City water conservation program case study shows components for success
Santa Monica has long held a commitment to sustainability. In 1994, the Sustainable City Plan was crafted to address the strain that population growth and high levels of consumption place on natural resources. Updated in 2004, the Plan outlines a program to minimize these negative impacts while accommodating the needs of the City's residents and businesses in the present and the future.
The Sustainable City Plan is founded on nine Guiding Principles:
- The concept of sustainability guides City policy
- Protection, preservation, and restoration of the natural environment are high priorities for the City
- Environmental quality, economic health and social equity are mutually dependent
- All decisions have implications to the long-term sustainability of Santa Monica
- Community awareness, responsibility, participation and education are key elements of a sustainable community
- Santa Monica recognizes its connection with the regional, national, and global community
- Issues most important to the community will be addressed first, and the most cost-effective programs and policies will be selected
- The City is committed to procurement decisions that minimize negative environmental and social impacts
- Cross-sector partnerships are necessary to achieve sustainable goals
Santa Monica promotes the implementation of on-site Best Management Practices (BMPs) that feature landscape treatment. Some of these installations include the following:
Get more case studies for water conservation from the
Water Environment Research Foundation
- Parks feature recreational pathways that extends to the limits of the property, providing walking, jogging, and cycling opportunities in a well-landscaped setting; capture of runoff from the park's parking lot and office areas by using permeable surfaces and infiltration zones to enhance stormwater infiltration and reduce runoff.
- Green Streets are being upfitted by retrofitting existing streets to include porous pavement or bioinfiltration areas.
- On-Site Stormwater Management System programs provide homeowners and businesses with a variety of technical resources and publications on how to comply with its Urban Runoff Management Ordinance on individual parcels to help reduce stormwater pollutant discharges to the public storm drain system, reduce urban runoff volumes, help reduce peak flood flows, and increase groundwater recharge.
- Public Outreach and Education increase residents' and developers' awareness of tools, technology, and requirements for addressing water quality. Elements of the outreach and education system include the following: brochures, Best Management Practices, education for at-risk youth, collaborative programs with nonprofits, videos, catch basin stenciling program, and supportive ordinances and regulations that provide significant structure.
- Urban Runoff Pollution Control
- Industrial Pretreatment Program
- Water Conservation
- Water-conserving Landscape Regulations
- Funding Mechanisms include a "City Enterprise" approach. The City's storm drainage system has been designated a City enterprise and utility for the purpose of providing for and managing aspects such as funding, permitting, maintaining, planning, designing, reconstructing, constructing, environmentally restoring, regulating, water quality testing, and inspecting of storm drainage and the storm drainage system.
- Landscape Water Efficiency Competitive Grant Program provides partial funding for new or remodeled innovative garden designs that demonstrate sustainable practices These must include one or more of the following:
- California native plants
- Water-efficient irrigation systems
- Stormwater catchment systems
- Graywater systems
- Other innovative water saving features
Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions