Non-Functional Turf Watering Ban
On June 10, 2022, the state of California and the State Water Resources Control Board issued an emergency regulation that prohibits the watering of non-functional turf areas at commercial, industrial, and institutional sites with potable water. The regulation was issued in response to the drought to expand existing water conservation efforts. On September 13, 2022, the Valley Water Board of Directors amended their water waste enforcement ordinance to include the non-functional turf watering ban. On June 13, 2023, the Valley Water Board of Directors adopted an ordinance, which included the non-functional turf watering ban as a permanent water waste prohibition.
What is non-functional turf?
Non-functional turf, as defined by the state, is lawn that is dedicated solely for ornamental or decorative purposes, and does not serve recreational purpose for humans. This emergency regulation currently applies to non-functional turf areas located at commercial, industrial, or institutional sites. Examples of non-functional turf areas include:
- Streetscape turf along sidewalks, parking lots, and frontage areas
- Turf in roadway medians
- Turf in medians within roundabouts
According to the State Water Board, the following properties are considered commercial, industrial, or institutional (CII):
- Homeowners’ Association-owned properties
- Manufacturing plants and facilities
- Industrial and commercial construction sites
- Retail and shopping malls
- Religious institutions
- Government facilities (including parks)
- Grocery stores
- Educational institutions
- Sporting arenas
- Office buildings
- and other properties that provide commercial, industrial, and institutional services
According to the State Water Board, HOA’s are considered to be CII sites. However, the watering ban only applies to turf areas that are owned by the HOA. Residents may continue irrigating their turf, as that turf is considered residential. Residents that choose to continue watering their turf must adhere to the local watering restrictions and schedules.
Trees and plants that are located within non-functional turf area may still be irrigated as necessary, as they provide several benefits to the community. Non-functional lawn areas that are irrigated with non-potable water may still be irrigated, as long as the current watering schedule and watering restrictions are followed.
Valley Water released a handout, defining non-functional turf and providing examples of areas that are considered functional or non-functional.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call our Water Conservation Hotline at (408) 586-2666.