Los Angeles County officials have hailed the passage of Measure W, the Safe Clean Water parcel tax. Proposed by the County Flood Control District and approved by the Board of Supervisors, the measure was put to voters on the November ballot — and passed, earning 69.5% of the vote.
The tax (a parcel tax of 2.5 cents per square foot of impermeable space) is set to raise $300 million annually to capture, treat and reuse stormwater runoff, and would help to modernize LA’s 100-year-old water system infrastructure.
Revenue generated from Measure W will help cities across Los Angeles County to comply with state water quality laws and meet their obligations under the Federal Clean Water Act. The funds will be used to pay for regional and municipal projects that improve water quality and may also increase water supply and provide community benefits such as parks or wetlands.
“Voters have embraced an historic opportunity to modernize LA’s water infrastructure to meet the needs of the 21st century,” said Mark Pestrella, director of the LA County Department of Public Works and chief engineer for the Flood Control District.
“LA County is heavily reliant on imported water [the county imports two-thirds of its water from hundreds of miles away] and faces an uncertain future. Stormwater capture systems are a sound investment in our water security efforts. We look forward to the critically important work of modernizing our 100-year old stormwater infrastructure to improve water resiliency and reduce stormwater pollution in the region,” he said.
County Supervisor Hilda Solis, co-author of the motion that brought Measure W before voters, said she was thrilled that over two-thirds of county voters supported the Safe Clean Water initiative. The measure “means good-paying local jobs,” said Solis. “LA County looks forward to getting started on these infrastructure projects.”
“Without Measure W, we faced an ever more urgent challenge to meet our water needs,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “LA County currently loses an estimated 100 billion gallons or more of water during annual rainstorms, enough to meet the needs of more than 2.6 million people for an entire year. We simply can’t afford to let that water run down the drain. I’m gratified that voters recognized the need and were ready to take up the task,” she said.