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California Drought: State Agency Revises Rules On Grass

Ed Joyce / Capital Public Radio

Sprinklers water a lawn in Carmichael.

Ed Joyce / Capital Public Radio

The California Department of Water Resources has proposed changes to an ordinance that would prohibit installing grass at most new commercial and residential properties. 

The DWR revised an ordinance to reduce the size threshold for landscapes to 500 feet for both commercial and residential property.

The updated rules would ban grass in street medians, prohibit the installation of grass (unless it is for a specific function, such as a sports field) and require the installation of efficient sprinkler nozzles. 

The DWR says under the new rules, new homes would use about 30 percent less water and water use at new commercial landscapes would be reduced roughly 40 percent.

The revisions are intended to conserve water during the fourth year of drought and in future years.

The DWR says about half of California’s urban water is used on landscaping. The hearings are Tuesday in Los Angeles and Friday in Sacramento.

*Update: The article has been updated to say half of California's urban water is used in landscaping.