The song says that it never rains in Southern California, but it pours. The truth is that it doesn’t pour very often. Southern California is in a nearly-constant state of water emergency, and that’s something that’s led to the launching of a new initiative designed to help conserve Orange County’s limited water supply. Lake Forest is one of the municipalities taking part.
What is the H2OC Initiative?
The H2OC Initiative is designed to make better use of Orange County’s water supply by minimizing the contamination and waste of run-off water.
The initiative encourages residents and businesses to capture rain water, so it can be repurposed. Here are a few examples of ways that people can participate:
- Install one or more rain barrels or a cistern to capture rain water as it falls
- Add mulch to bare soil around homes and businesses, something that traps water and reduces runoff by allowing the water to absorb into the ground slowly
- Create a rain garden to capture rainwater and water plants
People who buy a rain barrel or a cistern may qualify for a rebate. Rebates start at $35 for rain barrels and $250 for cisterns.
The primary goal of the H2OC Initiative is to encourage citizens to do what they can to be responsible water stewards. By capturing rainwater before it runs off into the ocean, they can both minimize pollution and maximize the benefits of Southern California’s limited rainfall.
Who Can Participate?
The H2OC Initiative is for residents and business owners in Orange County. In addition to Lake Forest, residents of the following communities can take part:
- Aliso Viejo
- Dana Point
- Fountain Valley
- Laguna Beach
- Laguna Niguel
- Los Alamitos
- Mission Viejo
- Newport Beach
- Rancho Santa Margarita
- San Clemente
- San Juan Capistrano
- Seal Beach
Unincorporated Orange County residents may also work together to protect California’s water resources.
What You Need to Know
Some of the things you can do to participate in the H2OC Initiative don’t require any permission. For example, you may install rain barrels on your property without a permit, although you must meet the SoCalWaterSmart guidelines for rain barrels and cisterns to qualify for the rebates.
If you plan on adding a rain garden to your property, on the other hand, you’ll need to contact your local building or planning department to see if you need a permit to begin construction. Building codes and ordinances may apply.
It may also be useful to review your property’s watershed map, which you can do on the H2OC website, here.
Water for Life
In addition to collecting rainwater, you can also participate in H2OC by redoing your property with drought-friendly landscaping and reducing the amount of water you use inside and outside your home.
Now is the perfect time to get started. The rainy season in Orange County typically starts in October and runs through May. To get more information about the initiative and learn how you can get involved, please click here.