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District establishes guidelines to discourage new installation of decorative lawns in commercial areas

News Release - March 16, 2022

The Marin Water Board of Directors took action to prevent future water waste on Tuesday evening. The action, adopted through an ordinance, prohibits the use of District water for irrigating any new ornamental lawn in commercial and municipal landscapes.

The ordinance will take effect on April 15th and applies to new and rehabilitated landscapes that require plan review by the District. Projects required to undergo landscape plan review include new construction projects with landscape areas of 500 square feet or more, and rehabilitated landscape projects of 1,000 square feet or more.

The board’s decision is intended to discourage new installations of purely decorative grass around business complexes and in street medians by restricting use of the District’s potable and recycled water supplies for grass care and maintenance. The District has previously identified non-functional turf as a key area of opportunity where greater water savings can be achieved to preserve the District’s supplies for other more beneficial uses. Tuesday’s decision applies only to new and rehabilitated commercial and municipal areas, and not to residential properties or recreational areas. In addition, it is the District’s first step in tackling a broader interest in review of decorative lawns across the service area as a possible means of further longer-term water savings.