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The California Lawn Suffers Another Blow


Peter Brostrom, section chief, California Department of Water Resources

Matthew Adams, vice president, Building Industry Association of San Diego

Nan Sterman, host, KPBS television series "A Growing Passion"


The California Water Commission has adopted stricter limits on the amount of natural turf used to landscape both residential and commercial development.

The rules stipulate that only 25 percent of the landscaped area for new homes can be used for grass. That's down from about 33 percent under the old rules, which remain in effect through November.

But beginning in December, developers will have to change the way their projects are landscaped. Homeowners who remodel more than 2,500 square feet of yard will also be held to the 25 percent standard.

Peter Brostrom, section chief for the California Department of Water Resources, said limiting grass in residential properties to 25 percent is expected to save an average of 12,000 gallons a year per household.

Brostrom, who told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday that the change is a result of Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive orders, said existing homes will not be affected unless the homes are remodeled in a way that needs a building permit.

“It’s certainly different from what we had in the past,” said Matthew Adams, vice president of the Building Industry Association of San Diego. “But different doesn’t necessarily mean bad. We’re prepared to comply because, let’s be clear, we have a water shortage.”

Adams said homeowners who have applied water conservation efforts to the interiors of their homes will now just carry out those efforts to the exteriors of their homes.

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