Existing law, The 1990 Water Conservation in Landscaping Act provides for a model water efficient landscape ordinance that is adopted and updated at least every 3 years by the Department of Water Resources, unless the department makes a specified finding. Existing law requires a local agency to adopt the model ordinance or to adopt a water efficient landscape ordinance that is at least as effective in conserving water as the updated model ordinance, except as specified. Existing law specifies the provisions of the updated model ordinance and includes a related statement of legislative findings and declarations.
This bill would:
- Require the updated model ordinance to include provisions that require that plants included in a landscape design plan be selected based on their adaptability to climatic, geological, and topographical conditions of the project site;
- Exempt landscaping that is part of ecological restoration projects that do not require a permanent irrigation system, mined-land reclamation projects that do not require a permanent irrigation system, and existing plant collections, as part of botanical gardens and arboretums open to the public, from the model ordinance;
- Require the updated model ordinance to include provisions that require that all new or renovated nonresidential areas install plants that meet specified criteria, and that prohibit the inclusion of nonfunctional turf in nonresidential landscape projects after January 1, 2026;
- Revise the legislative findings and declarations to state that the model ordinance furthers the state’s goal to conserve biodiversity and provide for climate resilience consistent with state drought efforts to eliminate the use of irrigation of nonfunctional turf.
Committee Location: APPROVED in the Assembly; Approved in Senate Policy Committees. Referred to Senate Appropriations.