California drought ends state's wasteful water regime

30 May 2015

The continuing drought in California has forced the state authorities to introduce a number of tough measures to ensure that its citizens used available water in more sustainable ways.

The state approved building codes on Friday, that would see sprawling green lawns around new homes, businesses and schools become a thing of the past. 

The California Building Standards Commission also cut the amount of water many landscapes could use by over 20 per cent and effectively forced developers to plant less turf and more drought-friendly foliage.

This comes as the latest in a string of recent efforts aimed at cutting water use to comply with governor Jerry Brown's executive order. Brown's order aims to cut water use by 25 per cent amid California's fourth year of drought.

This alone would not solve the water scarcity, but over time, according to Peter Brostrom of the Department of Water Resources. He added it would reset the norm about what one thought about landscape.

This alone would not solve the drought, but over time, as buildings were built and new landscape went in with less turf, landscapes would have a much lower water demand, according to Peter Brostrom of the Department of Water Resources. He added, it would reset the norm for what one thought about landscape, Los Angeles Times reported.

Builders and developers could meet the new rules by planting shrubs and bushes rather than grass, or by installing slow-trickling valves instead of traditional sprinklers.

According to Bob Raymer of the California Building Industry Association, which supported the changes, one could still see grass, but a lot less of it, The Orange County Register reported in its online edition.

The rules would not affect existing landscapes, or those that used recycled or reclaimed water. The new standards would come into effect for proposed office buildings, schools and hospitals, and on 15 June for housing developments.

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