Rain Barrels for LA Stormwater LID Requirements

Los Angeles is a hot region for rain barrels. With a balmy Mediterranean climate, LA residents enjoy often sunny skies. This makes the value of collecting water when it does rain exceptionally high. In fact, the LA Stormwater LID program requires residents to collect rainwater.

The Los Angeles metro area has a couple of programs that support rainwater harvesting. Many folks have heard of the LA Stormwater LID requirements, but did you know SoCal MWD offers rebates for rain barrels, to help offset the cost? 

We’re here to help you demystify the requirements of both programs. Read on for some starting points, and please reach out to your local permitting agency to understand the specific requirements that may apply to you. 


This southern California home has 9 rain barrels in the front, 2 in the back, and another 16 concealed in the narrow side yard. Less than 1″ of rain falling on a 2,500 square foot rooftop will fill all 27 barrels!


LA City Stormwater LID Program: 

Prone to drought, The City of Los Angeles now requires new buildings (and remodels) to implement stormwater mitigation strategies. This helps to hold water onsite, keeping it from washing away to the Pacific Ocean. 

Despite a generally dry climate, stormwater runoff in LA’s mostly-paved landscape rises to the top as one of the most pressing environmental issues in the area. LA Stormwater’s website reports:

“Even on the driest day in Southern California, tens of millions of gallons of contaminated water and debris flow through our local creeks, rivers and lakes and into Santa Monica and San Pedro Bays.  On a rainy day, the flow can increase to as much as 10 billion gallons.”

Los Angeles’ LID ordinance took effect in 2012. LID stands for Low Impact Development: a leading stormwater management strategy. LID practices mitigate runoff by helping to slow, spread, sink (and store!) water as close to its source as possible. This not only reduces stormwater impacts, but also recharges groundwater underfoot, and provides a sustainable source of high-quality irrigation water to boot. That’s right, LID practices help to mitigate stormwater, conserve water, and restore the environment all at once. Click here for more details about why rainwater harvesting is so darned good for the environment. 

Click image to enlarge.

Projects that are larger than one acre (or over 2500 square feet within environmentally sensitive areas); require special review by the City, and a plan for mitigation. 

Smaller projects, however, qualify under Appendix E: Small Scale Residential Prescriptive Measures, and homeowners can meet the requirement by installing as few as four rain barrels. 

In fact, we’ve had a number of LA residents satisfy their requirement (and qualify for SoCal WaterSmart’s rebate!) with a 4-Barrel BlueBarrel System



4-Barrel System meets LA Stormwater LID requirements.

“I just finished building a 4-barrel BlueBarrel System. It was easy to do. I submitted my receipt from BlueBarrel, and SoCal Water Smart rebates covered all but the blocks and boards.” – Jeff, Murrieta, 2016


SoCal MWD’s SoCal WaterSmart Rebate Program: 

Another reason rain barrels are popular in southern California is that most residents qualify for rebate through the Metropolitan Water District’s SoCal WaterSmart Program

Here’s a word from our customer, Pieter, from Santa Monica, who installed a 2-Barrel BlueBarrel System in 2016:

“The installation went well and I just received a rebate from the City of Santa Monica through the SoCal Water Smart Program that covers the total cost of the system. Thanks once again.”

“Home-made” systems will not qualify for southern California’s rebate programs, but BlueBarrel provides a great DIY kit that meets all California state code requirements and has been approved by SoCal WaterSmart and the LA Stormwater LID program team, in cases where projects qualify under Appendix E: Small Scale Residential Prescriptive Measures.*

*BlueBarrel does not represent the City of Los Angeles or any of its programs. BlueBarrel does not administer permits or rebates, and cannot guarantee the outcome of permit or rebate applications. Customers are advised to work directly with their local permitting or rebating agencies to determine eligibility for local programs. 


Rain Barrels Los Angeles

Ready to get Started?

BlueBarrel offers a one-of-a-kind solution for a multi-barrel rainwater catchment system, made from locally-sourced recycled barrels.  Our unique system design meets California state code standards for a non-permitted rainwater catchment system. Check with your local agency to see about qualifying for municipal programs and available rebates

When you’re ready to order, start at BlueBarrelSystems.com and use our sizing and siting tools to plan out your multi-barrel system. Then enter our Online Store and follow the prompts to find your nearest source of recycled barrels. Choose from multiple southern California barrel pickup locations. We have participating barrel suppliers throughout southern California, including Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire, and San Diego. 


Ready to Get Started?

Rain Barrel Kit


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