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L.A. County’s water system was built 100 years ago to send stormwater out to sea to prevent floods, not capture the water for future use.
The way the system is currently designed, the County misses the opportunity to capture more than 100 billion gallons of water each year. L.A. County’s stormwater system is designed to move water out to the ocean as fast as possible without filtering out any trash, plastic, or other contaminants. This contamination has the effect of polluting our rivers, waterways, and oceans, and has been identified as one of the biggest threats to L.A. County’s water quality, as it poses a danger to humans and animals alike.
This November, voters in L.A. County will decide whether to approve Measure W, the Safe Clean Water Program, which is a parcel tax that would increase L.A. County’s local water supply, improve water quality, and invest in making our communities greener and more livable.
As described below, the money raised by Measure W would have several impacts on Central L.A. County.
Many L.A. neighborhoods further from the coast are paved over and don’t have enough parks, trees, or shade. Measure W would prioritize a variety of projects, from large wetlands to green streets, that protect residents from extreme heat.
With an emphasis on nature-based solutions, Measure W would create new recreational areas in cities across the County and make them greener, healthier places to live.
In between cycles of drought, L.A. County experiences intense storms. Flooded streets can expose residents in Central L.A. County to contaminants and bacteria. The Safe Clean Water program would protect families by capturing polluted stormwater before it contaminates the city streets where children play.
The communities that are the most vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather and poor water quality are often the same ones that struggle to fund improvements to their water systems. Measure W would boost investment in the urban core of Los Angeles County and help design and fund projects that would otherwise not be built.
Through Measure W, schools could apply for funding to build stormwater capture sites that double as playing fields—saving school districts money and giving kids more space to learn and play. Measure W would also provide hands-on learning opportunities and could improve our County’s environmental science curriculum.
If approved by 66.7 percent of voters in the November 2018 election, Measure W would be funded by a parcel tax of 2.5 cents per square foot of impermeable areas (like concrete) within the County. This would raise approximately $300 million annually. The median L.A. County single-family residence would pay about $83. Certain properties, such as public schools, would be exempt from paying the parcel tax.