Thirsty Southern California imports water across hundreds of miles, and lately its resources have been tight—yet at the same time, it has a storm drain system to rush away billions of gallons of usable rainwater. Some 130,000 homes could have obtained a year’s supply of water from recent downpours, the Los Angeles Times notes. “This isn't wastewater until we waste it,” says a natural resources lawyer.
A 2009 report found that straightforward methods of capturing water, like cisterns and redesigned landscaping, could cover more than half of LA’s yearly needs. A city ordinance could help save wasted water, but “if we're able to convince people to do it on their own, there's so much more” to be saved, says the city’s public works chief. “The really important thing to do is unpave and change the texture of Los Angeles."