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State Ban on Nonfunctional Turf Irrigation: How it Applies to You

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Doing Our Part Drought Sign

Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) is committed to working with our Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional (CII) customers to help them achieve their corporate sustainability goals and reach compliance with statewide regulations on outdoor irrigation of nonfunctional turf. EMWD offers a variety of customer-focused programs such as rebate opportunities, technical resources, and educational information to help your organization reduce its water footprint and do its part to help California stretch its water supply resources.

What are the State and Local Regulations? 

Background
Executive Order N-7-22 signed on March 28, 2022

  • Water agencies to advance to Level 2 of water shortage contingency plans
  • Encourages agencies to go beyond 20% to prepare for long-term drought
  • Enacted plans to ensure water shortage reduction up to 20%
  • Directed Department of Water Resources to develop strategies to improve water conservation
  • Directed State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) to consider adoption of a nonfunctional turf regulation

In May 2022, the State Board passed prohibition of irrigation of nonfunctional turf for Commercial, Institutional and Industrial customers by potable water with the following
exceptions: 

  • Shared irrigation device with trees or other perennial non-turf plants 
  • Turf that is certified as a low water use variation meeting certain requirements 
  • Landscape irrigated with recycled water
  • Parks, sports fields, and other turf used for recreation

What is Nonfunctional Turf?

  • Nonfunctional turf is a ground cover surface of mowed grass that is ornamental and not otherwise used for human recreation purposes
  • Nonfunctional turf does not include school fields, sports fields, and areas regularly used for civic or community events

How to Comply?

  • Direct landscape maintenance personnel to shut off irrigation to all eligible nonfunctional turf, but continue irrigating trees, shrubs and other perennial plants
    • EMWD can provide template letter to send to landscape personnel
  • Take advantage of EMWD’s rebates and programs
    • Commercial and Multi-Family Drip Rebate
    • Free Deep Drip Watering Stakes
    • Landscape Irrigation Survey
    • Public Agency Landscape Program
    • Water Savings Incentive Program
    • Large Commercial Landscape Program
    • SoCal Water$mart Rebates
      • Turf grass replacement
    • Accelerated Retrofit Program

*HOAs – Please note: Fines cannot be assessed for residents who are not maintaining turf grass during a drought declaration

State Ban on Irrigation Fact Sheet for CII Customers

Notify Your Staff Template for CII Business Use

WaterWise Landscape Transformations

By transforming landscaping to be more sustainable, businesses can contribute to immediate drought relief and long-term water resilience, while also achieving corporate sustainability goals, cutting costs and providing additional benefits to the community.

Quick Contact Information: 

Conservation Department
P: 951.928.3777, ext. 3322
E: conservation@emwd.org

Public & Governmental Affairs
P: 951.928.3777, ext. 3430
E: publicandgovtaffairs@emwd.org

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