Frequently Asked Questions
Under construction! More information coming soon!
These answers are based on information published by the California State Water Resources Control Board.
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Do the emergency water regulations affect trees?
The regulation does not restrict the watering of trees, just turf. Watering based on the specific needs of a tree is encouraged. The California Water Board urges people to continue to water trees, even while reducing or stopping the irrigation of turf. Trees that are just getting established may need to be watered more frequently, including hand watering. Trees near or on non-functional turf could be impacted by some responses to the ban on turf irrigation, but the regulation allows continued irrigation of trees even if turf, such as turf under trees, will receive water. See Watering Trees in Turf and the California Water Board's Save Our Trees website.
Where can I find information on the California Water Board's water conservation emergency regulations?
You can find updated documents and subscribe to announcements on the California Water Board’s Water Conservation Emergency Regulations website. There are two active regulations listed on the website.
The California Water Board has also published a set of frequently asked questions about the new regulations, and these questions-answers are copied from their page.
When did the emergency water regulations take effect?
The emergency regulation went into effect on June 10, 2022 and will remain in effect for a year, unless modified or extended.
How is "non-functional turf" defined?
Turf is “a ground cover surface of mowed grass.” Non-functional turf is solely ornamental and not regularly used for human recreational purposes or for civic or community events. It does not include school fields, sports fields, and areas regularly used for civic or community events.
Are there exceptions to the ban on watering non-functional turf?
Yes, the irrigation ban applies only to non-functional turf in the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors (not residential) and only applies to the use of potable water for irrigation. Irrigation of turf used regularly for human recreational purposes is allowed. Most importantly, the regulation does not ban the irrigation of trees or other non-turf plantings. Recycled water and grey water can be used to irrigate turf, however, the California Water Board prioritizes the irrigation of trees due to the severity of the drought. There is also an exemption process for certain low-water turf species and irrigation approaches.
What are the consequences for watering non-functional turf?
The regulation bans the irrigation of non-functional turf with potable water in commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors and establishes that such irrigation is an infraction punishable by a fine of up to five hundred dollars for each day in which the violation occurs, pursuant to Water Code section 1058.5(d).
May people use recycled water or greywater to irrigate turf?
Yes, however the California Water Board encourages people to prioritize irrigation of trees and other plants due to the severity of the drought and the amount of water required for turf.
Who reports water waste violations?
Anyone can report water waste violations online at SaveWater.CA.Gov. These reports are sent to local water suppliers and the Board. The website allows you to upload photos, which helps with enforcement decision-making.
What plants does the California Water Board prioritize?
Trees! Our trees are an investment. It will take more water, time, and money to replace a tree lost in drought than it does to keep it alive.
How do I know if my tree is getting enough water?
How do I know if my tree is getting too much water?
Why is this drought different than previous droughts?
California's current water supply limitations are unprecedented. All Californians must make efforts to reduce water use.