California Updating Irrigation Rules
March 2008 - Grounds Management
California’s Department of Water Resources is developing new rules that will govern turf and landscape irrigation in California.
Assembly Bill 1881 (AB1881) of 2006 directed the department to make changes to the existing water-efficiency model ordinance to implement some task force recommendations. The department will hold two public hearings in March and accept comments until March 27, 2008, at 5 p.m.
AB 1881 requires the department to update the model ordinance in accordance with specified requirements by Jan. 1, 2009. It also requires local agencies to adopt the updated model ordinance or equivalent by Jan. 1, 2010, or it will be adopted automatically by statute.
Some members of the state’s irrigation industry have expressed concern about a proposal to cut the evapotranspiration adjustment factor, which adjusts the amount of water needed for a landscaped area accounting for plant factor and irrigation efficiency. The recommendation would effectively shrink project water budgets.
The bill also requires the state’s Energy Commission, in consultation with the department, to adopt performance standards and labeling requirements for landscape-irrigation equipment, including irrigation controllers, moisture sensors, emission devices, and valves to reduce the wasteful, uneconomic, inefficient, or unnecessary use of energy or water.