On July 15th, the California Water Commission approved additional restrictions on water use in California, focusing on the amount of grass that can be planted on the grounds of new homes and commercial buildings.
The Desert Sun reports that the new amendments to the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance will limit “high water use” such as pools and most forms of grass to only 25% of residential landscaping areas in the state. In practice, the new rules prohibits grass in newly built or remodeled non-residential buildings.
Commercial and industrial landscaping account for 25% of all landscaping projects in the United States.
Starting on December 1st, new development projects with landscapes larger than 500 square feet and remodeled projects with at least 2,500 square feet of landscape must comply with the new rules.
Vicki Lake, the program manager for the California Department of Water Resources’ Urban Water Use Efficiency Unit, is hopeful the new rules will reduce water use throughout the state.
“Overall, it’s going to result in a significant water savings in California,” said Lake said. “It’s the direction we have to take, because we are a state dominated by extremes, in terms of droughts and floods.”
California is already restricting its water use due to the intense drought ravaging the state. On April 1st, Governor Jerry Brown implemented ordinances that limited water usage by residents and properties alike.
The new rules will cut water use in new properties by 12,000 gallons a year, a 20% reduction, by limiting turf to 25% of residential landscapes. As a result, turf will no longer exist in median strips, parkways, and commercial landscapes.
“This is something we’ve been at the forefront of for quite a while, being well aware of the challenges California has in providing a sustainable water supply,” said Dave Cogdill, CEO of the California Building Industry Association. “We believe this is a regulation that certainly will work, will allow us to become much more water efficient and do it in a way that…still can provide a landscape that people will enjoy [and] want to have for their home.”