Gov. Jerry Brown signs measures to boost drought-friendly landscaping

Turf replacement

The San Fernando Valley is leading Los Angeles County in lawn-replacement rebates. Dorian Castillo designed the drought-tolerant landscaping that surrounds her house.

(Michael Robinson Chávez / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a slate of measures Friday designed to improve water quality and boost conservation efforts, including one law meant to ensure residents replacing lawns with drought-friendly alternatives don’t run afoul of local regulations.

That measure, by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), prohibits cities and counties from enacting rules that ban the installation of artificial turf or drought-tolerant landscaping at residential properties.

“We are all working so hard to do our part to save water,” Gatto said. “This legislation prevents governments from interfering with their citizens’ efforts to conserve.”

The measure, AB 1164, goes into effect immediately. It is one of a series of laws Brown has signed to encourage homeowners to replace water-guzzling lawns; last month, he approved a measure barring homeowners associations from restricting the installation of artificial turf.


Drought-tolerant landscaping also will be coming to properties owned by state agencies, under a new law by Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael).

The measure, AB 606, requires state agencies to modernize irrigation systems on their properties and to install native plants that consume less water.

Brown also approved a measure that requires urban water agencies to assess how vulnerable their water infrastructure is to earthquakes.

“Gov. Brown understands that with a fourth-straight year of drought driving home the precarious nature of California’s water supplies, we cannot ignore forecasts showing a greater than 99-percent chance of a 6.7 earthquake within the next 30 years,” Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), the author of SB 664, said in a statement. “Much of California’s infrastructure, including key water-delivery systems, remains seismically unsafe and extremely vulnerable.”


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