Opinion: Say Goodbye to Grass That’s Only There for Looks. California Can’t Afford to Waste Water

California was so dry and its water supply so precarious by May 2022 that the State Water Resources Control Board issued an emergency order: No drinkable water could be used to irrigate grass that had no function other than to look nice.

The regulation does not apply to residential lawns, although they were already turning brown due to local restrictions on sprinkler use.

It does apply to all purely ornamental lawns — “nonfunctional turf,” in regulatory parlance — at commercial, industrial and institutional sites, such as shopping centers and corporate headquarters.

That order was recently extended for another year.

It’s time for California to follow Nevada’s lead and permanently remove decorative turf.

To be clear, we’re talking only about nonfunctional turf. That means grass that no one walks on, except to mow it. It doesn’t apply to playing fields, picnic grounds, parks, meeting areas, schools, cemeteries or any place where people gather, play, loll, visit or frolic. It won’t keep anyone from feeling wet grass under their bare toes. Instead, think fenced areas with “keep off the grass” signs, plus street medians, mall landscaping and the like.


(Editor’s Note: For rebates, classes, and water-saving tips:

Water Agencies Lift Some Restrictions Following Wet Winter: What’s Changed, What Hasn’t

Coachella Valley water agencies are lifting some drought restrictions following an exceptionally wet winter in California, although experts and officials warn that California residents should keep getting used to “conservation as a way of life.”

How America’s Fastest Growing City is Trying to Secure Its Water Future

Rob Ford was watering his hay last October at his small Washington County, Utah, ranch when he realized the flow was weaker than usual. He called the irrigation manager who monitors the water levels.

“The water is really weak,” Ford said he told the irrigation manager. “Is that about what we are expecting today?”

California’s Strategy Fails as Feds Pressure States to Conserve Colorado River Water

The Department of Interior has indicated that if states don’t cooperate on dividing Colorado River water, more cuts may be on the way.

The agency indicated that California could also face cutbacks, which means that the state’s wait-and-see strategy may have fallen short.

California has senior water rights to the Colorado River, and so far, that has worked in its favor.

Certain North County Communities Under Water Restrictions Amid Drought

Californians are living in the state’s driest period on record and residents are being asked to conserve water as reservoirs run low and demand exceeds a supply stressed by climate change. The Vallecitos Water District is moving San Marcos and surrounding areas to restrict outdoor irrigation to two days a week. A large share of the state’s water is used for agriculture, and growers have seen water deliveries slashed during the drought.

State Puts $100M Toward Water Conservation

More money is coming down the pipeline for Nevada’s efforts to conserve water amid a historic megadrought that has put the pinch on supplies in the Southwest.

California Officials Warn of More Water Restrictions in 2023 as Fourth Year of Drought Looms

California cities and farms should brace for little or no water from the state’s big reservoirs in the coming year, a prospect that signals more water restrictions for households and more fallowed fields in the farm belt.

The warning was delivered Monday by state and federal water officials who said they are preparing for the possibility of a fourth year of drought. Both are considering, at least initially, reduced allocations for the many water agencies that contract for reservoir supplies from California’s sprawling water projects.

Opinion: Water Woes Will Only Get Worse for California

We are so technologically advanced, that we can send messages to people thousands of miles away in mere seconds; we have access to a world of knowledge with a few computer keystrokes, cars can drive themselves and phones are mini computers that we carry in our pockets. 

Despite all the strides the human race has made to make life more convenient, we still struggle with things like drought, climate change and water shortages.

We Built a House of Cards:’ Deal or Not, Colorado River States Stare Down Major Cuts

Major Colorado River cuts must be made, one way or another. The only looming questions are when and on what terms, with negotiators scheduled to resume interstate meetings this week.

The Colorado River remains in an unfolding and worsening crisis. Demand far exceeds supply. Long-term drought, worsened by climate change, has meant less water refilling the river’s large reservoirs as water users have continued to overtap them. Lake Mead, outside of Las Vegas, is the grim evidence, where, at 27 percent full, old boats have washed ashore in what can feel like an apocalyptic scene. The math is unavoidable: Without cuts, the reservoir will keep dropping.

Most Californians View State’s Water Shortage as Extremely Serious, Poll Finds

Most Californians agree the state’s drought situation is very serious, but only a minority of voters say they and their families have been significantly affected by the current water shortage, according to a new poll.

The survey of more than 9,000 voters statewide found that 71% said the state’s water shortage is “extremely serious,” while 23% described it as somewhat serious.