Feb 26, 2020

San Diego Falls Behind on Storm Water Improvements

San Diego is struggling to reach its storm water mitigation goals 

storm water

San Diego has fallen behind its annual funding targets. Elected officials would need to raise more than a $1 billion in new revenue over the next decade to get back on track, reported the San Diego Tribune.

Under San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, the city laid out what it would cost to fix the problem, creating a financial blueprint over two decades to prevent flooding and to come into compliance with state mandates under the Clean Water Act.

City auditors warned elected leaders that San Diego’s storm water needs were being dramatically underfunded, according to the San Diego Tribune.

The mayor’s office has yet to secure enough new funding to fix the situation, which would likely require a voter-approved tax hike down the line.

Though some cities have raised their storm water fees, toxic runoff continues to plague many California regions.

“This is a tremendous liability for the city,” said Matt O’Malley, executive director of San Diego Coastkeeper.

“The mayor’s goal is to protect our communities from flood risks and improve water quality in compliance with regulatory goals with a balanced approach that doesn’t lead to raising rates on San Diego families any higher than what will be needed to get the job done,” said Faulconer’s office in response to public concern.

The city’s plan to address storm water was aiming for annual spending of $105 million in 2018 and more than $205 million by 2025. The reality is that San Diego has come nowhere near its funding targets. Since 2017, the city has spent an average of approximately $20 million a year on capital improvement projects.

The city’s funding gap for storm water represents the largest individual chunk of a $2.16 billion funding gap for needed infrastructure through the next five years, according to the San Diego Times

San Diego will now have to find an additional $857 million through 2025 to get back on track to meet state clean-water mandates, according to a recent report by the city’s Independent Budget Analyst (IBA).

The city will need to raise more than $1.4 billion in new revenue to address flooding and meet water-quality requirements by the end of the next decade.

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