CALIFORNIA AND STORMWATER -- The problem is: These weather extremes — wetter wets and drier dries — are the new normal. The question is: How will we respond?
One vital answer is to recognize that stormwater — the combination of rain and runoff — is a precious, untapped resource. Los Angeles is a world-class city known for its creativity and action. Let’s channel that energy to capture rainfall and put it to good use. Harnessed stormwater has the power to build a more secure local water supply, reduce pollution to our rivers and beaches, and decrease flood risk.
The sooner we make this paradigm shift, the better off we’ll be. But we face a major barrier: funding.
Because of a single, controversial court case, which ruled that stormwater projects are not a part of water or sewer services, stormwater infrastructure is subject to onerous funding requirements.
To address this barrier, California state Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, has introduced Senate Bill 231, which adds a definition of “sewer service” that includes “stormwater.” SB231 holds stormwater infrastructure funding to the same strict standards of accountability and transparency as other water management services, accurately and appropriately considering stormwater within the larger water system.
This change will unleash much needed, long overdue updates to our region’s infrastructure, help build our economy, and create new jobs.
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