Clean Water

The Federal Clean Water Act requires states to establish maximum limits of pollutants that streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans can accept before their beneficial uses such as swimming, fishing, and industrial uses are impaired. These maximum limits are called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL).

  1. water quality
  2. Creek and Ocean
  3. water Conservation
  4. Habitat Protection


Measure W was approved by Los Angeles County voters on November 6, 2018. This multi-benefit measure provides cities, including the City of Malibu, watershed areas, and Los Angeles County with funds to capture, treat, and recycle stormwater. Funding is provided through a parcel tax of 2.5 cents per square foot of impermeable land area (buildings, concrete, etc). The funding generated from this parcel tax may only be used for projects and activities that benefit water quality. 

The Safe Clean Water Program is managed by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District. Cities receive direct funding through the Program proportional to the revenue generated within its boundaries. Every city must submit an Annual Plan on how the municipality intends to use the funds. The public is encouraged to review Malibu's 2022-2023 Annual Plan and provide comments via email to Environmental Programs staff.

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Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS) are protected coastal areas created to preserve local marine ecosystems. There are 34 ASBS along California's coast that support a rich variety of aquatic life. ASBS regulations prohibit pollutants from entering the ocean through private and public storm drains and natural streams. Malibu is home to a portion of ASBS No. 24 (from Latigo Point to Laguna Point in the Point Mugu area). The City continues to prove itself as an environmental leader by working diligently to protect the 11,842 acres of marine habitat in ASBS No. 24.

Overview of these protected areas.


The State required the City to put into action programs called “Special Protections” to prevent pollution from reaching ASBS. All flows of unnatural dry-weather runoff and polluted stormwater to ASBS remain illegal under the Special Protections.

California State Water Resources Control Board Resolution No. 2012-0012 approves exceptions to the California Ocean Plan for selected discharges, including special protections for beneficial uses and certifying a program environmental impact report.


Graywater is gently used water from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines. While graywater may look “dirty,” it is a safe and even beneficial source of irrigation water in a yard.

Aside from the obvious benefits of saving water (and money on your water bill), reusing your graywater keeps it out of the sewer or your septic system, thereby reducing the potential chance that it may pollute the environment. Reusing graywater for irrigation reconnects urban residents and our backyard gardens to the natural water cycle.


An Ocean Friendly Garden (OFG) can prevent ocean pollution and protect marine life by capturing storm water. Irrigation water and even rain can be harmful when it leaves your yard and heads to the ocean picking up pollutants (like fertilizers, pesticides, animal waste, and dirt) from the street.

Hillsides can contribute to polluted runoff when water quickly flows over compacted soil or washes away dirt from an eroding slope. An OFG will trap this water and use it to nourish plants while the soil filters pollutants.



In February 2009, the State Water Board adopted Resolution No. 2009-0011, which established a statewide Recycled Water Policy that encourages increased use of recycled water and local stormwater. It also requires water and wastewater agencies, with local stakeholders, to develop a Salt and Nutrient Management Plan (SNMP) for each groundwater basin in California.

The objective of a SNMP is to manage salts and nutrients from all sources "… on a basin-wide or watershed-wide basis in a manner that ensures attainment of water quality objectives and protection of beneficial uses." The Malibu Valley Groundwater Basin SNMP will be adopted by the Regional Water Board. The SNMP will include:

  • Stormwater and Recycled Water Use/Recharge Goals and Objectives
  • Characterization of Hydrogeologic Conceptual Model/Water Quality
  • Estimation of Current and Future Salt and Nutrient Loading
  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Estimation of Basin Salt and Nutrient Assimilative Capacity (relative to Basin Plan Objectives)
  • Antidegradation Analysis
  • Development of Implementation Measures to Reduce Salt and Nutrient Loading
  • CEQA Analysis of the SNMP