Water Capture in the Age of Zika

March 2016

These days, everyone is trying hard to capture and save every drop of valuable water. Cities require that developers install stormwater management devices and plans, and residents across the southland are taking advantage of free rain-barrel distribution events.

But is there a hidden cost?

The Chino Basin Water Conservation District (CBWCD) recognized potential problems, and organized a “Lunch and Learn” bringing regional experts together to discuss the challenges of managing both stormwater and mosquitoes in our changing landscape. Watch the video at: http://cbwcd.org/213/Mosquito-Prevention.

CBWCD’s Lunch and Learn ‘Take Aways’:

  • Invasive mosquito species that can transmit Zika, dengue, and chikungunya have been identified in San Bernardino County and LA County.
  • These species of mosquitoes are “container breeders” and require very little water to complete their life cycle. A bottle cap of standing water is enough to promote breeding.
  • Untreated and poorly monitored rainwater barrels, bioswales, or underground stormwater drains with standing water create the ideal habitat for mosquito production.
  • Mosquito production can be limited or prevented in stormwater BMPs and rainwater harvesting strategies if:
    • Structures are sealed, have a 1/16″ screen at all open air entries, or are treated w/ the appropriate dosage of biodegradable insecticide.
    • Stormwater BMPs, bioswales and raingardens are designed and maintained to allow water to drain quickly, reducing the occurrence of small pockets of standing water
    • Open water management incorporates mosquito predators, maintains low vegetation coverage, and low nutrient loads.

We encourage everyone to share this knowledge with your friends and coworkers… together we can make a difference.

By Kelly Middleton, Director of Community Affairs