LGC Resources – Water

Water is one of California’s most coveted commodities, and the focus of intense competition between stakeholders such as industry, agriculture, residents, and environmental interests. The state cannot afford to waste or pollute its already limited supply.

Maintaining adequate water supplies and water quality, and protecting the beneficial uses of water depends largely on land use decisions made by local government.  How we plan and develop our communities has an enormous impact on the quality and quantity of California’s water. Learn more about local government programs and policies, General Plan language, case studies and more that you can apply in your community on the following topic areas:

LGC Water Resources

LGC’s work since 1991 to help local governments build more livable communities also serves to protect and conserve water resources. It has helped promote communities like Village Homes of Davis, CA, that sport narrow streets (20-24 feet), lawns that slope away from the street and into natural drainage systems, and a well-connected pedestrian/bicycle trail system. Such communities help enable on-site water infiltration that percolates water through the soil, instead of releasing it to surface waters.

The Ahwahnee Principles for Water complements the Ahwahnee Principles for Resource-Efficient Communities that were developed in 1991. Many cities and counties are already using them to improve the vitality and prosperity of their communities.

Growing Trees Make Great Neighborhoods

“Save Our Water and Our Trees” Campaign Goes LIVE!”

Save Our Trees Press Release – July, 22 2015

How to save your trees

Lawn trees can and must be saved during the drought. What you can do:

  1. SaveOurWaterAndOurTrees_Widget-320x320Deeply and slowly water mature trees 1 – 2 times per month with a simple soaker hose or drip system toward the edge of the tree canopy – NOT at the base of the tree. Use a Hose Faucet Timer (found at hardware stores) to prevent overwatering.
  2. Young trees need 5 gallons of water 2 – 4 times per week. Create a small watering basin with a berm of dirt.
  3. Shower with a bucket and use that water for your trees as long as it is free of non-biodegradable soaps or shampoos.
  4. Do not trim trees during drought, if possible. Pruning and drought both stress your trees.
  5. Mulch, Mulch, MULCH!  4 – 6 inches of mulch helps retain moisture, reducing water needs and protecting your trees.

 www.SaveOurWater.com/trees

Low Impact Development (LID) Alternative Compliance

The “Lower Stanislaus Low Impact Development Alternative Compliance Plan” addresses the physical and fiscal constraints of on-site LID, which are disproportionately experienced by projects in infill, brownfield, and redevelopment contexts.  LID can be land consumptive and/or too expensive for infill projects.  Infill and redevelopment areas are of particular importance given recent state legislation that encourages more compact and coordinated growth (i.e., SB 375, AB 32, formation of Strategic Growth Council, etc.). This Plan serves as a demonstration project for communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley and beyond, providing options for  local governments to comply with both stormwater management goals and sustainable growth goals.

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Model LID Standards & Specifications for Riverbank

In order to comply with existing and future stormwater discharge regulations, while promoting a resource efficient and sustainable approach to reducing stormwater runoff pollution, the City of Riverbank recognized the need to develop Low Impact Development (LID) standards and specifications. The City’s General Plan provides the overarching policy framework for a more natural approach to drainage. This document provides specific guidance for LID solutions that are customized to the local context.

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Barriers to Low Impact Development

While many communities understand the benefits of Low Impact Development (LID), getting LID projects built has been difficult. In an effort to address this issue, the Southern California Stormwater Monitoring Coalition (SMC) commissioned the Local Government Commission (LGC) in partnership with the Center for Water and Land Use at University of California, Davis Extension (UCDE) to assist with identifying barriers SMC members and other practitioners have faced and in prioritizing strategies to remove those barriers.

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 The Ahwahnee Water Principles: A Blueprint for Regional Sustainability

Safe, clean water is essential to California, its nearly 37 million residents, its vibrant and diverse economy, and its cherished
quality of life. However, accessible quantities of clean wateradequate to meet California’s current and projected future needs are limited and relatively finite. It is becoming increasingly evident to policy-makers that to accommodate the often competing needs of various end-users, while providing for continued demographic and economic growth, requires careful, forward thinking management of California’s water resources.

Download the Guidebook

Water Resources and Land Use Planning: Watershed-based Strategies for Amador and Calaveras Counties

The pressure to grow and the development patterns to accommodate this growth have significant implications for water resources in Amador and Calaveras counties. This watershed plan examines the connections between land use policies, development patterns and water resources, and how these connections relate to local planning efforts. Within this plan is an assessment of existing conditions and policies; explanation of the links between land use decisions, watershed health, water quality, and water quality regulations; strategies and recommendations that match local needs, suggestions for planners, administrators and developers as they plan future developments, and implementation measures.

Download the Report

Water Resources and Land Use Planning: Watershed-based Strategies for Ventura County

The purpose of this plan is to better understand and bridge the disconnect between how we regulate land development and the standards we expect related to watershed health. This document is comprised of four main parts:

  • An assessment of existing conditions and policies to identify needs and opportunities.
  • A narrative explaining links between land use regulations in Ventura County and watershed health.
  • Specific policy recommendations for aligning land use planning, community design and stormwater/watershed management programs.
  • Technical review sheets to guide alignment of local codes and planning programs with stormwater and watershed management programs.

Download the Report

Water-Wise Development in the Sierra: A Water and Land Use Policy Guide

LGC collaborated with the Sierra Nevada Alliance to develop a guidebook for watershed-friendly land use planning and development practices in the Sierra Nevada region.

Download the Guidebook

Watershed Developed for Sierra Communities

The fast growing Sierra Nevada is home to 24 watersheds that provide over 65% of the state’s water supply. How and where future growth occurs is essential to the long-term sustainability of the region’s water. This fact sheet provides strategies to align water and land use planning.

Download the Fact Sheet

Water Fact Sheets

Additional Information, Resources and Tools

Below are links to tools from across the country that will help you in your land use and watershed planning efforts. Each listing includes a brief description and a link to the resource.