On October 13, 2023, Governor Newsom signed AB 1572 into law, amending Water Code sections 10540, 10608.12, and 10608.22, and adding Water Code section 110. The new law prohibits public agencies, restaurants, corporate campuses, industrial parks, and certain other property owners from watering “nonfunctional turf” using potable water. Noncompliance by a person or entity shall be subject to civil liability and penalties. This law closely resembles the State Water Resources Control Board’s (“State Water Board”) June 10, 2022 emergency regulation prohibiting the use of potable water to irrigate nonfunctional turf.
AB 1572 gradually phases out the use of potable water for irrigation of nonfunctional turf. The law’s effective dates are as follows:
The law does not impose restrictions on residential yards, cemeteries, parks, golf courses, and sports fields, and permits the use of potable water to the extent it is necessary to ensure the health of trees or other perennial non-turf plants.
Further, AB 1572 authorizes and/or requires the following notable items: (1) State Water Board is directed to create a form for compliance certification, and require owners of covered properties to certify their compliance; (2) by January 1, 2027, public water systems are required to revise regulations to include AB 1572 restrictions; (3) a public water system, city, county, or city and county is authorized to enforce the irrigation restrictions; (4) owners of commercial, industrial, or institutional irrigated parcels larger than 5,000 square feet to self-certify compliance to the State Water Board beginning in 2030; and (5) integrated regional water management plans to include identification and consideration of the water needs of owners and occupants of affordable housing, including the removal and replacement of nonfunctional turf.
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