At their July 30th Board meeting, the LA County Supervisors adopted an Implementation Ordinance for the Safe Clean Water Program, also known as Measure W.
Safe Clean Water will generate money to fund projects and programs that capture, clean, and conserve stormwater — increasing local water supplies, improving water quality, and creating opportunities for new recreational green space and habitat.
Recurring cycles of drought are a reality in LA, and yet currently every year a full 100 billion gallons of water runs down our curbs and out into the ocean. Measure W was born of the need for smarter ways to capture, clean, and store stormwater, thereby increasing local water supply and reducing pollution.
“The passage of Measure W opened a lot of exciting possibilities for natured-based, thoughtfully designed, and forward-thinking water infrastructure,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl after the vote. “This Implementation Ordinance takes ideas that were theoretical and establishes them as actionable plans for a more sustainable LA.”
An estimated $300 million in tax revenue will be generated by Measure W every year through a special parcel tax of 2.5 cents per square foot of impermeable surface area on private property. Certain low-income homeowners, nonprofits, and publicly-owned facilities are eligible for an exemption, and credits for property owners who have installed stormwater-capture improvements are available. The revenue will fund projects to modernize LA County’s outdated water infrastructure with truly multi-benefit, nature-based projects.
“The Safe, Clean Water Program is the culmination of years of collaboration between government, labor, business, environmental groups, and community members. These projects will help secure our local water supply, clean up our rivers and ocean, green our neighborhoods, and create thousands of family-wage jobs — a huge win for our environment and economy,” said Katy Young Yaroslavsky, Kuehl’s Deputy for the Environment.
Voters overwhelmingly approved Measure W with nearly 70% of the vote, signaling broad public support for a water-wise LA County. To ensure that the County lives up to this show of public faith, the Safe Clean Water Program includes strict accountability requirements such as a Regional Oversight Committee, annual reports, and independent audits. The Implementation Plan put forth this week is a first step in ensuring that the promise of Measure W – a resilient, green LA County—is achieved.