Low Impact Development (LID) Project

What is LID?

Low Impact Design is an approach to managing stormwater and urban runoff at the source. LID strategies capture rain water to be infiltrated into the ground or reused. Learn more at this great resource: LID- Urban Design Tools

Why is LID important?

In Orange County, stormwater and runoff is usually sent to a concrete stream or channel that drains to the ocean. LID allows water to be filtered onsite, soak into the ground or be reused for landscaping.

What are BMPs?

LID is implemented through Best Management Practices (BMPs) that reduce water use and runoff. Common BMPS used in LID include:

  • rain barrels and cisterns that capture water from rooftops, to be used later for irrigation
  • permeable concrete/pavers that allow water to soak into the ground
  • bioswales that are designed to collect water from streets and sidewalks and filter out pollutants

The LID Project

To show Orange County residents how they can reduce water pollution and conserve water, Coastkeeper helped turn local homes into LID demonstrations! Ultimately, we seek to reduce the amount of polluted urban runoff from residential properties in Orange County while also reducing the use of imported water and putting more water in our aquifers.

What’s the Problem? We use too much water! In Orange County, 50% to 70% of water used at home is applied to the landscape. This increases the strain on our water supply, half of which is imported from the Colorado River and Sacramento Delta. Also, when people over water their landscapes, excess runoff that spills onto sidewalks and streets can carry pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria, oil and metals into our local waterways.

Why use LID in residences? Orange County is largely urbanized; therefore, to achieve water quality and water conservation objectives we must engage local residents.  “By managing runoff close to its source, LID can enhance the local environment, protect public health, and improve community livability.” - Urban Design Tools

Read the LID Project: Final Report

What we did:

  • Reviewed stormwater regulations and local ordinances in order to find obstacles towards implementation of LID retrofit BMPs
  • Assisted homeowners that participated in the program with finding, subsidizing and installing the proper BMPs (best management practices) for their project
  • Helped 10 local homeowners transform their yards, with BMP retrofits completed between October 2008 and September 2009

And the results?

  • The ten houses could capture 15,711 gallons/year of storm water runoff. When extrapolated to 50,000 homes, 241 acre/feet would be captured per year. That’s a lot of water!
  • The BMP retrofits resulted in a 5% reduction in water uses for the program. As the drought tolerant and native plants become established, we expect water usage to decrease by higher rates in the coming years.

LID Project Profiles: Meet our participants-Ten local home owners from across Orange County transformed their yards through this project.

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