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State lawmakers advance stormwater collection efforts

Greta Mart/KCBX
In January, heavy rains flooded San Luis Obispo streets, overwhelming the city's stormwater drainage system.

The California state Senate has passed a bill that would make it easier for cities to finance and build projects to capture stormwater. 

Under the legislation, stormwater would be defined as a sewer service. In doing so, municipalities can charge fees to finance stormwater projects the same way they do for sewer, water delivery systems or trash collection.

Andrew Fahlund with the Water Foundation is the bill’s sponsor.

"We’re losing hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water each year to the ocean in places like Los Angeles and San Diego and San Francisco and that’s water that if we make the proper investments can be captured and used,” Fahlund said. 

Opponents says the bill is a way to avoid voter approval on expensive environmental projects.

The bill now moves to the Assembly.