Kamala Harris visits L.A. stormwater project in wake of record-setting rains

The vice president visited a Los Angeles-area groundwater system, which is among projects that aim to improve drought resiliency in the face of climate change.

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Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday joined state and local leaders at a Los Angeles County site recently upgraded to increase groundwater retention, where they touted ongoing efforts to improve drought resiliency across California and neighboring states.

Harris’ visit came on the heels of a series of storms that battered the state for weeks, causing fatalities, flooding and extensive damage — but also provided record-setting precipitation needed in the water-starved West.

Harris said the climate whiplash — from years of severe drought to pummeling rain — was indicative of the climate crisis, requiring better preparation for such weather extremes. And with much of that recent stormwater already flowing into the Pacific, the situation has renewed calls to change how the state collects and stores rainwater.

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She spoke from the banks of a newly upgraded facility in Los Angeles County’s Sun Valley known as the Tujunga Spreading Grounds, which aims to increase the amount of rainwater and runoff captured in massive earthen bowls, which then is used to recharge groundwater. There are more than two dozen spreading grounds or basins in Los Angeles County.