With so many regions on Earth experiencing drought or water stress, proper stewardship of our water is paramount. Southern California imports water from hundreds of miles away to support its population. We continue to build and expand, even in regions where desertification has left the climate arid and lacking in rainfall.
The traditional way our cities are built essentially channels rain and stormwater out and away from populated areas, despite the fact that that is precisely where it is most needed. Roofs lead to rain gutters, gutters flow to yards and driveways, they flow to curbs and gutters, which divert water straight down into the sewer and out to the ocean.
It is an incredibly obsolete and wasteful system. The opportunity we have to improve upon this comes at each point in the stormwater diversion process: roofs can divert to rain barrels; rain barrels can divert to underwater cisterns; gutters can divert into bioswales, and streets can soak in the water through porous surfaces; and the remaining water that makes its way into the sewer and out into canals and river ways can leach down into the underground water table through reengineered surfaces that don’t simply expedite the flow of water out to the ocean.