Metropolitan issues statement on Gov. Newsom signing bill to eliminate non-functional turf

Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, issues the following statement on Gov. Newsom’s signing of AB1572, legislation co-sponsored by Metropolitan to prohibit the use of potable water to irrigate grass that is not used for recreation or other purposes – also known as non-functional turf – on commercial, industrial, municipal and institutional properties.

“Today California embarks on a new chapter for water supply resiliency. Up to 70 percent of all water used in Southern California is for outdoor irrigation, much of it on lawns that are never walked on or played on. We can no longer use our precious water resources on grass that serves no functional purpose.

“We thank Gov. Newsom, Asm. Friedman and Sen. Stern for their leadership in helping our state adapt to climate change, and our co-sponsors on this bill, Heal the Bay and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“We face a future of weather extremes that will produce longer and more severe droughts and greater unpredictability in our watersheds. We must adapt to climate change and its whiplash. We must reduce our use of water even more than we already have, develop more local supplies, capture and reuse water, utilize more storage, build resilient infrastructure and become more efficient in our water use.

“This bill and reducing water used for nonfunctional turf is an integral part of Metropolitan’s Board of Directors leadership’s progressive strategy to develop and implement the Climate Adaptation Master Plan for Water to provide safe, reliable and affordable water for all with no one left behind.

“Metropolitan has long encouraged Southern Californians to replace their thirsty grass with more water-efficient landscaping, through our turf replacement program. As businesses and institutions will now be required to do the same through this legislation, we hope they will continue to take advantage of our rebates and replace their non-functional turf with California-Friendly® and native landscapes. Working together, we can ensure the success of our region’s water future.”

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