County Adopts Safe Clean Water Ordinance

At the July 30 Board meeting, LA County Supervisors adopted an Implementation Ordinance for the Safe Clean Water Program ( 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 an exuberant Supervisor Sheila Kuehl after the vote, who gave a shout-out “to my visionary Environmental Deputy Katy Young Yaroslavsky.

“This ordinance takes environmentally progressive ideas that were theoretical and establishes them as actionable plans for a more sustainable LA. Collaboration is the only way something this monumental gets accomplished, and, for that, we owe a great big thank-you to you the voters, labor, environmental groups, business, and community members,” Kuehl wrote in her online newsletter, Happenings.

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 The revenue will fund projects to modernize LA County’s outdated water infrastructure with truly multi-benefit, nature-based projects.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,” said Yaroslavsky. “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

Voters overwhelmingly approved Measure W with nearly 70 percent 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.

The passage of Measure W opened a lot of exciting possibilities for nature-based, thoughtfully designed, and forward-thinking water infrastructure.


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