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Assemblymember Alvarez & the City of San Diego Partnering on Water and Storm Channel Legislation to Prevent Flooding

For immediate release:

Sacramento, CA – In January, California and San Diego County experienced atmospheric rivers that led to devastating consequences across the region and state. San Diego recorded nearly 3 inches of rainfall within just 8 hours, making it the fourth rainiest day on record since 1850. The flooding was so severe that it affected more than 800 households, with water levels rising beyond 5 feet in some cases and causing widespread damage.

However, despite the damage caused by these storms, lessons have been learned to help local governments prepare and discover new tools that can help mitigate these issues in the future. As part of these efforts, Assemblymember David Alvarez and the City of San Diego have partnered on two bills designed to help the region better prepare and react more effectively.

Assembly Bill 2501: ‘Cutting the Green Tape’ bill authorizes the State Water Resources Control Board and the Regional Water Quality Control Board to accept funds from the City of San Diego and other agencies for permitting and technical assistance work on projects that relate to stormwater channel clearance and other public works. The bill is sponsored by the City of San Diego and supported by the California Chamber of Commerce. AB 2501 was approved by the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee and will be heard next in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Assembly Bill 3227: The ‘Streamlining Storm Water Channel Maintenance Act’ aims to expedite routine maintenance of stormwater channels and facilities. This focuses on channels that are fully concrete to make sure they are able to handle a 100-year storm event by clarifying requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act. Specifically, this bill eliminates unnecessary administrative delays and paves the way for timely upkeep of these essential facilities. Yesterday, the Assembly Natural Resources Committee passed AB 3227 and it will next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

“Weather prediction models are telling us that storms will continue to increase in frequency and severity due to climate change. We need to be proactive and allow our local governments to take immediate steps to prepare for these events and utilize all available resources to safeguard vulnerable neighborhoods without any administrative delays. These bills can aid San Diego in preparing for more frequent storms by expediting approvals and eliminating any unnecessary bureaucratic processes." said Assemblymember David Alvarez

“The severe rains and flash flooding San Diego experienced in January — as well as the increased frequency and intensity of rain events recently — have highlighted the need to take a hard look at regulatory barriers that inhibit regular storm channel maintenance at the local level,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “Reducing the regulatory burden and adding technical resources will cut red tape so the City can better serve our communities. I’m grateful to Assemblymember Alvarez’s leadership and partnership to take this on at the state and ensure San Diego is resilient amid the changing climate.”

“As the San Diego Councilmember who represents the Southcrest community, which was devastated by flooding caused by the January 2024 winter storms, it is clear that quicker project reviews and cutting red tape to improve storm channels will help protect our communities from future disasters. For these reasons, AB 2501 and AB 3227 are critical to ensuring cities, like San Diego, can upgrade stormwater infrastructure expeditiously to prevent future flooding events” said San Diego Councilmember Vivian Moreno (District 8).