Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed legislation aimed at prohibiting local governments from banning water-conscious landscaping at private residences while preserving the ability of cities and counties to set aesthetic and environmental standards.

Gov. Jerry Brown. Photo credit:
Gov. Jerry Brown. Photo credit:
AB 1164 — which takes effect immediately — seeks to protect homeowners who install water-efficient landscaping, and encourages others looking reduce urban water use to do the same, according to Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D- Glendale, who authored the bill.

“Californians are doing their best to protect our state’s precious water resources when they spend their own hard-earned money to invest in water- efficient technologies,” Gatto said. “Intruding on a homeowner’s private property and fining them for doing the right thing sends the wrong message and is counterproductive to our water-saving efforts.”

Homeowners attempting to install drought-tolerant landscaping have come up against a number of barriers throughout the state, from bans on artificial turf to requirements that a landscape be completely covered in live-plant material, Gatto said.

The installation of drought-tolerant landscaping necessitates the use of a variety of materials including mulch, hardscape, and live plants.

The new bill recognizes the ability of cities and counties to set appropriate standards for the use of drought-tolerant landscaping, synthetic grass, or artificial turf, including water-permeability requirements and limitations on how much land may be covered by certain types of materials, according to Gatto.

“AB 1164 empowers Californians to conserve water,” he said. “With 60 percent of residential water going to lawns and other outdoor uses, it’s time for government to stop being part of the problem. This legislation will allow water-conscious residents to diversify their water-saving efforts.”

— City News Service

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