Beaumont Tashjian Law Blog

Friday, April 14, 2017

Client Alert: Governor Lifts Drought Emergency in Most of California

On April 7, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown declared an end to California’s historic drought, and lifted the drought emergency in all California counties except Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne via Executive Order B-40-17. Consequently, unless a local government has declared a local emergency due to drought, an association is no longer prevented from imposing a fine against an owner for reducing or eliminating the watering of vegetation or lawns. (Civil Code Section 4735 (c)(1)-(2).) Associations are encouraged to confirm with the local water purveyor/agency to determine the scope of local emergency drought regulations before taking enforcement action.

Note, Executive Order B-40-17 builds on actions taken in Executive Order B-37-16, which remains in effect, to continue making water conservation a way of life in California. The State Water Resources Control Board will continue to maintain urban water usage reporting requirements and interdictions on wasteful practices, such as watering during or after rainfall, hosing off sidewalks and irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians.

Although the Governor’s emergency order has been lifted, with exceptions, associations cannot adopt or enforce governing documents that prohibit, or effectively prohibit, owners from using low water-using plants or artificial turf in landscaping design. (Civil Code §4735.) Given the complexities surrounding this issue, many of our clients have enlisted our help to prepare guidelines on low water using plants and artificial turf, including rules and regulations regarding same. Please feel free to contact us to further discuss how we can help your association effectively address these issues.


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