Currently there is no dedicated funding source for cleaning up the stormwater that ends up in our coastal waters. Measure W, the Safe Clean Water Parcel Tax, aims to fix this by creating a parcel tax to pay for the capture and cleanup of stormwater. Long Beach especially stands to gain if cities along the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers reduce the amount of polluted runoff entering our coastal environment.

The tax on property owners would be 2½ cents per square foot of impermeable surface. Impermeable surfaces are roofs, driveways, and other paved areas that don’t let water sink into the ground where it is otherwise cleaned up through natural processes. The average single-family homeowner would be taxed about $83 a year, and there are exemptions for low income seniors, nonprofits, and credits for those who implement measures to reduce and cleanup rainwater on their property.

The county anticipates the tax would generate $300 million a year, to be used for projects with multiple benefits. In addition to improved water quality, it is estimated the projects will increase water supply in local aquifers- up to 100 billion gallons, enough to meet the needs of over 2 million people a year. Stormwater treatment is best accomplished through the creation of green space that will also increase shade, parkland and natural areas for people and wildlife. A number of projects have already been identified in Long Beach, and each municipality receives benefits in proportion to the funds generated within their jurisdiction.

For these reasons, consistent with our mission of promoting clean, healthy beaches, the Surfrider Foundation Long Beach Chapter joins other environmental organizations such as the SF Los Angeles Chapter, Heal the Bay, and Friends of the LA River in endorsing County Measure W.