Measure W, approved by voters last November, will tax residents 2.5 cents per square foot of impermeable surface on their parcels. The initiative will raise an estimated $300 million per year to fund rain gardens, new parks, and watershed restoration in order to capture and clean the precious rainwater sliding off the county’s concrete and asphalt surfaces. Though the county currently captures and stores enough rain to meet the consumption needs of one million residents, the Measure W tax revenue could help more than double that number. According to the Los Angeles Times editorial board, which supported the measure, it will also help the county’s 88 cities and 200 water agencies to meet water quality standards that they have routinely violated in the past due to polluted runoff, and to avoid large fines. A similar 2013 measure was pulled due to opposition. This time the county made a big investment in meetings and surveys before the vote and the initiative garnered 69.45 percent support, surpassing the 66.67 percent supermajority requirement. In the Bay Area, property owners in the Contra Costa  County city of Moraga voted against a stormwater fee in May 2017. 

Pearls in the ocean of information that our reporters didn’t want you to miss
 

In 2019 Los Angeles property owners will see a new addition to their tax bill: a tax on impervious surface area to fund stormwater projects.

Measure W, approved by voters last November, will tax residents 2.5 cents per square foot of impermeable surface on their parcels. The initiative will raise an estimated $300 million per year to fund rain gardens, new parks, and watershed restoration in order to capture and clean the precious rainwater sliding off the county’s concrete and asphalt surfaces. Though the county currently captures and stores enough rain to meet the consumption needs of one million residents, the Measure W tax revenue could help more than double that number. According to the Los Angeles Times editorial board, which supported the measure, it will also help the county’s 88 cities and 200 water agencies to meet water quality standards that they have routinely violated in the past due to polluted runoff, and to avoid large fines. A similar 2013 measure was pulled due to opposition. This time the county made a big investment in meetings and surveys before the vote and the initiative garnered 69.45 percent support, surpassing the 66.67 percent supermajority requirement. In the Bay Area, property owners in the Contra Costa  County city of Moraga voted against a stormwater fee in May 2017. 

About the author

Isaac Pearlman covers sea level rise, flooding, and other topics for ESTUARY. A Bay Area native, Isaac's writing is informed by his master's degree in environmental science, as well as many adventures from living and working in South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. His stories and essays have been featured in Earth Island Journal, the Progressive Populist, and Ecosystems among other outlets. https://isaacpearlman.wordpress.com

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