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State of California bans the watering of decorative grass by commercial, industrial and institutional properties, including homeowners’ associations.

July 19, 2022
Irrigation is banned for decorative or non-functional grass at commercial sites.

As of June 10, 2022, a new state regulation bans the irrigation of decorative or non-functional grass with potable water in commercial, industrial and institutional settings. The regulation applies to turf that is ornamental and not used for recreation. It does not apply to residential lawns, school fields, sports fields or areas regularly used for civic or community events.

According to the State Water Board, ending irrigation of non-functional grass will save the equivalent of water used by as many as 780,000 households every year. The regulation does not restrict the watering of non-turf plantings or trees, which are important for shade and cooling as the state experiences more extreme heat events.

Frequently asked questions on artificial turf and the new regulations can be found in a fact sheet provided by the State Water Board.

CII properties that receive potable water supplied or managed by Valley Water either directly or indirectly by a Water Retailer shall:

  • Not apply water to non-functional turf at commercial, industrial and institutional sites, including homeowners' associations.
  • Not water functional lawns (exempt from the ban) more than 2 days a calendar week.
  • Not apply water to any outdoor landscape in a manner that causes runoff. 
  • Not apply potable water to any outdoor landscape during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.

Potable water can be applied to ensure the health of trees and other perennial non-turf plantings or to the extent necessary to address immediate health and safety, sanitation or fire protection needs as determined by the fire marshal. 

Community members can report incidents of water waste to Valley Water. We will strive to educate property owners reported for violations of water waste prohibitions to encourage water conservation and to prevent water waste. In addition, if the property is supplied potable water by a Water Retailer, Valley Water will notify the Water Retailer of each complaint and allow the retailer to pursue its enforcement process.

Valley Water manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County's 2 million residents. The district effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, an advanced recycled water purification center, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 285 acres of groundwater recharge ponds and more than 294 miles of streams. We provide wholesale water and groundwater management services to local municipalities and private water retailers who deliver drinking water directly to homes and businesses in Santa Clara County.