A 2018 study by Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy reveals how storm water infrastructure could generate over $14 billion in economic benefits
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, water usage in places already lacking proper infrastructure is increasingly becoming a concern.
According to the study, a Los Angeles County storm water program would create over 9,000 local jobs and generate over $14 billion in economic benefits.
In 2018, LA County Supervisors raised about $300 million per year from property owners for new green storm water infrastructure projects, reported the Water Foundation. Months later, residents voted for the measure and the county created its Safe Clean Water Program.
The goal of the Safe Clean Water Program is to provide local, dedicated funding to increase our local water supply, improve water quality and protect public health.
As reported by the study, Southern California’s current water supply practices are unsustainable. Of the approximate 500 billion gallons used annually in the L.A. Basin, only one-third comes from local groundwater. The majority of the area’s water is transported from hundreds of miles away, which is financially and environmentally costly.
Based on projected increases in demand, as well as dwindling supplies and the effects of climate change, there will be a water shortfall by 2050.
“The County Supervisors have set goals for the program not only around water resilience, water supply, water quality, and community benefits, but around underserved communities, employment, and job training,” according to the study. “Investing in GI through the SCWP would provide an economic stimulus for the region, creating good-quality jobs accessible to workers without advanced degrees.”
As reported by the study, assuming there is a parcel tax that raises $300 million annually for green storm water projects, over 30 years the program would create 6,530 direct construction jobs and 1,347 direct operations and maintenance jobs.
“Including the associated indirect and induced effects brings total jobs created over this period to 9,436. A $9 billion investment over 30 years would thus yield over $14 billion in regional economic benefits, even without accounting for jobs in high-wage fields like engineering and landscape design,” added the study.