Startup Takes on Stormwater Management – and Salinas Gains Efficiency

Esri Startup Partners

That is the Salinas Valley’s relationship with water, described by Salinas native John Steinbeck in his 1952 novel East of Eden. While California’s relationship with rainfall has always been prickly, water management has changed in the valley since Steinbeck’s time—arguably becoming even more critical to sustaining life in the arid American West.

Located 60 miles south of Silicon Valley, the City of Salinas, California, is surrounded by agricultural fields yet is one of the state’s 50 most densely populated cities. For its water supply, Salinas relies exclusively on local groundwater. But because of decades of overpumping, that water source is now threatened by saltwater intrusion. Additionally, due to the high density of impervious groundcover in Salinas, the volume of stormwater runoff that leaves the city each year is excessive, amounting to a missed opportunity for the city to use this valuable resource to recharge its groundwater and supplement local water supplies. This urban runoff also carries pollutants and litter into local waterways—and every acre of land in Salinas drains into a stream that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated as impaired.

To radically change how Salinas manages its stormwater, the city’s public works department has teamed up with Esri startup partner 2NDNATURE to better leverage ArcGIS to collect smarter data and streamline the workflows that undergird its regulatory reporting requirements.

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