Nonfunctional Turf

State Regulations for the Watering of Decorative (Nonfunctional) Turf

To ensure all Californians take sufficient steps to save water and preserve the State’s water supply, the State Water Board adopted the emergency regulation to ban decorative grass watering in June 2022.  In June 2023, the State Water Board readopted the emergency regulation to ban decorative grass watering. It will remain in effect for one year from the effective date, unless the State Water Board modifies it, readopts it, or ends it before then.

Emergency Regulation Requirements

  • Commercial, industrial, and institutional (CII) decorative grass should not be watered (with limited exceptions)
  • Give all trees just what they need: avoid overwatering
  • Regulation does not apply to Residential customers

Defining Functional and Nonfunctional Turf

Functional Turf, Community Space, Recreational Use Area

  • Ground cover turf located in a recreational use area or community space not enclosed by fencing to prevent human access
  • Areas for civic, ceremonial, or other community events and social gatherings
  • Areas for recreation, sports fields, golf courses, playgrounds, and pet exercise

Nonfunctional Turf

  • Any turf that is not functional turf
  • Specifically includes turf in street rights-of-way, center medians, and parking lots

Assembly Bill 1572

What is it? Who does it affect? When will it be in effect?

This bill prohibits the use of drinking water for the irrigation of nonfunctional turf for CII customers (including HOA management). However, it specifies that potable water may be used to irrigate nonfunctional turf where necessary to maintain the health of trees. 

This bill does not affect residential customers (even those who live within an HOA). It does affect commercial, industrial, and institutional customers (CII). 

Compliance must be in effect on the following dates:

  • State buildings & local government agency properties - January 2027
  • CII properties - January 2028
  • HOA common areas - January 2029

Examples of Nonfunctional Turf


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