SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Jan. 6, 2016 — As California prepares for a fifth year of drought, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted a new strategy that promotes the value of stormwater for multiple benefits, including groundwater replenishment and habitat improvement, according to a press release.

In the past, unmanaged stormwater runoff has been viewed as water pollution and a threat to human life and property, the State Water Board said in the release.

Taking a new approach, the statewide Storm Water Strategy aims to use stormwater to improve water quality and supply for local communities and long-term state water supply needs, stated the release.

“The drought, and the specter of more frequent droughts due to climate change, requires us to dramatically rethink how we manage storm water in California,” explained State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus in the release. “Stormwater should no longer be viewed as a nuisance, but instead embraced as an immediate and future water resource. With the right planning to capture it rather than shunting it away, local communities can improve local flood control, water quality, and water supply, including groundwater recharge, while contributing to urban greening — all of which will benefit current and future generations of Californians.”

According to the strategy document, the Storm Water Strategy envisions “a future where watershed processes critical to watershed health, such as overland flow, infiltration and groundwater recharge, interflow, and evapotranspiration, are improved and protected; where urbanized areas of California retain, infiltrate, and use rain falling within their jurisdictions; and municipalities regularly build and maintain multi-benefit storm water projects to achieve positive community, watershed and water resource management outcomes.”

You can find the entire release here.