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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about the Sacramento Water Pollution and Flood Prevention Measure.

If you have more questions or comments, visit the feedback page to submit your own.

What is the Water Pollution and Flood Prevention Measure?

Property owners in the city of Sacramento have approved a measure that will help fund repairs and improvements to the City’s storm water system, which is up to 100 years old.

The measure will generate funding to help protect homes, schools and businesses from flooding and help protect drinking water sources like the American and Sacramento rivers.

What problems is the measure intended to address?

Pollution from streets like trash, pesticides and harmful chemicals can flow into local waterways – like the American and Sacramento rivers – and on to other communities.

Sacramento’s stormwater system is aging.

Improvements are required so that it can better filter pollution to help keep it out of rivers and away from wildlife and prevent major and minor flooding during storms.

Most drinking water in Sacramento is produced from the American and Sacramento rivers.

What would the local measure do?

The measure will provide funding to help:

  • Protect drinking water quality and supplies
  • Provide safe, clean water for future droughts and emergencies
  • Keep trash, pesticides and harmful chemicals out of rivers and creeks
  • Prevent sewage and human waste from overflowing onto neighborhood streets
  • Replace aging and deteriorating infrastructure that prevents flooding

What kinds of project would the local measure fund?

A list of projects has been developed based on current needs and condition of the storm drainage system.

How does a stormwater system protect homes, schools and businesses?

Levees, creeks and canals help protect Sacramento communities by holding stormwater during large storms and prevent it from flooding neighborhoods and streets.

In many neighborhoods, including downtown, Sacramento relies on a “combined system” where sewage mixes with stormwater on its way to treatment plants.

If old pipes or pumps break in these areas, floodwater could include raw sewage, which can be harmful to public health and damage homes and rivers.

What would happen if Sacramento’s stormwater system were not updated? 

If Sacramento’s stormwater system is not updated, pipes, pumps and levees will continue to deteriorate and the cost of repairs would continue to increase.

The risk of flooding and threats to public health and safety could increase and the amount of pollution entering our creeks, streams and rivers could also increase.

How is the City of Sacramento stormwater system unique?

Sacramento’s flood risk is the second highest in the nation compared to other cities at risk from flooding caused by rivers because it sits at a low elevation on a flood plain.

In most cities, stormwater drains out using gravity. The City of Sacramento's stormwater system must rely on a complicated system of pumps to drain stormwater into creeks and rivers.

The City of Sacramento is one of only four cities on the west coast that relies on a combined system in some areas of the City.

The combined system captures, carries, and treats a combination of stormwater and wastewater in the same pipe.

How old is the City’s stormwater system?

The system is up to 100 years old and needs repair. Hundreds of miles of pipes, pump stations, levees and canals are deteriorating rapidly and need constant maintenance.

The aging system is also considered undersized for Sacramento and does not meet climate change challenges from drought and storms.

Why is the City considering a flood-prevention measure during the drought?

Studies indicate that extreme weather events are likely to become more frequent or more intense with climate change.  Source:

A major storm could cause flooding after any drought and the City must prepare for climate change and emergencies year-round.

The Water Pollution and Flood Protection measure would prepare Sacramento for emergencies by helping to protect homes, business and schools from potentially polluted flooding and help ensure a natural disaster doesn’t threaten rivers, creeks, and local water supply.

How much would a new stormwater fee cost?

Most single-family homeowners will pay about $6 per month.

The cost would vary for properties smaller than one-tenth of an acre or larger than a quarter-acre. Income-eligible customers may qualify for utility bill assistance.

Bills for the fees could be directly sent to tenants, subject to local and lease limitations.

Industrial and commercial properties would pay their share based on estimated impervious surface area of a property, according to state standards.

The measure would generate up to $20 million annually.

A chart of rates. Please email for a full description of rates.
If you have any questions about the proposed rate for your type of property, call 916-808-4971 or email

A rate of charts. Email for a full description of rates.

A copy of a Property Related Fee Study is available here.

When would the measure take place and who can vote on it?

California law requires elections for measures of this type be conducted by mail ballot to property owners. The City of Sacramento is considering an election in early 2022.

All property owners in the City would receive a ballot in the mail and would have 45 days to vote and mail it back. A majority approval of ballots received is required. 

What actions would be taken to make sure the funding is spent responsibly?

To ensure funds are spent only on approved projects, the local fee measure would include accountability oversight and review by the Utilities Rate Advisory Commission, a citizen oversight committee.

All funds would stay local to support protecting clean waters in Sacramento.

Do people currently pay a stormwater fee in Sacramento?

Yes. All property owners pay a fee to help maintain and operate the system of levees, pipes and pump stations to maintain clean water in Sacramento. Prior to the measure being passed, there had not been a new stormwater system fee in the City of Sacramento since 1996.