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Measure W, LA’s tax for stormwater recycling, winning by slim margin

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“Stormwater capture improves our water supply [and] protects our beaches and oceans from contamination”

The parcel tax would fund projects that catch and clean stormwater runoff which would otherwise flow into the ocean.
Liz Kuball

Measure W, which would create a new parcel tax to pay for collecting and recycling stormwater, appears to be headed for a slim victory.

Semi-official results released Wednesday morning show that 67.48 percent of Los Angeles County residents voted in favor of Measure W. It needs 66.7 percent to pass, and there are still outstanding ballots that need to be counted.

County supervisors and public works officials who championed the measure released a statement Wednesday morning celebrating its “likely passage.”

“Without Measure W, we faced an ever more urgent challenge to meet our water needs,” Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said the a statement. “I’m gratified that LA County voters recognized the need and were ready to take up the task.”

If it ultimately passes, Measure W will trigger a new tax on most parcels countywide, including single-family homes and other residential properties, to help pay for infrastructure upgrades and programs that meet federal water quality laws going into effect soon. Supporters have said that the money is needed to clean up polluted water and reduce the region’s reliance on imported water.

“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,” Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said in a statement.

Speaking from an election party Tuesday night on Bunker Hill, Yvette Martinez, director of OurWaterLA, said she spent the last few days talking to voters in Whittier, Boyle Heights, and Huntington Park about the importance of the measure.

She said she was bolstered by the outpouring of support she received at each location. If the measure had failed, she said she was ready to keep going. There is significant need to catch and use the little water LA gets, she said.

“It’s not like we will suddenly get water,” Martinez said.