Parcel Tax Promises Cleaner, More Secure Future Water Supply
Los Angeles County officials hailed the likely passage of Measure W, the Safe Clean Water parcel tax on the Nov. 6 ballot. According to the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder’s office, the measure has 67.4 percent of the vote with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Two-thirds of the total vote was needed for passage. Final election results will be certified at the end of the month.
Known as the Safe Clean Water Program, Measure W will fund projects and programs that capture, clean, and conserve storm water, increasing local water supplies, improving water quality, and creating opportunities for new recreational green space and habitat to make communities safer, greener, healthier, and more livable. An estimated $300 million will be raised annually.
“Measure W will help us manage scarce water resources more effectively for our children and our children’s children,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “Without Measure W, we faced an ever more urgent challenge to meet our water needs. L.A. 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 L.A. County voters recognized the need and were ready to take up the task.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, co-author of the motion that brought Measure W before voters, added, “I am thrilled that L.A. County voted to support Measure W, the Safe Clean Water initiative. Stormwater capture improves our water supply, protects our beaches and oceans from contamination, keeps our neighborhoods and local parks green, and promotes public health and quality of life in all of our diverse communities. It also means good-paying local jobs. Today, over two-thirds of County voters stated in one, clear voice that our increased water needs and changing climate means that every drop of water is precious. L.A. County looks forward to getting started on these infrastructure projects.”
Through the implementation of Measure W local and regional stormwater capture projects, estimates indicate that L.A. County could triple the amount of water it captures annually.
“Voters have embraced an historic opportunity to modernize L.A. County’s water infrastructure to meet the needs of the 21st century,” said Mark Pestrella, Director of the Department of Public Works and Chief Engineer for the L.A. County Flood Control District. “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.”
“Cities in Los Angeles County just let out a huge sigh of relief,” said Kristine Guerrero of the Los Angeles County Division of the League of California Cities. “County cities were on the hook to improve water quality, but didn’t have the resources or a regional plan to do it. Measure W makes it possible for L.A. County and its cities to more forward together with a smart plan to capture, clean and store more local water.”