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Commercial Lawn Irrigation Rules

Guidelines for Decorative Lawns in Non-Residential Areas

Assembly Bill 1572: Non-functional turf irrigation ban 

On Oct. 13, 2023, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1572, a statewide water conservation law which introduces a phased ban on the use of potable (drinking) water to irrigate decorative or non-functional grass on commercial, institutional or industrial sites. The phased prohibition begins in 2027 with institutional water users, such as state and local government entities. The ban does not include irrigation of grass used for human recreation or other community activities, watering residential grass or watering trees. The ban also does not prohibit the use of recycled water for irrigating non-functional turf.

Ban Phases: 

2027 - Government properties 

2028 - Commercial & industrial properties 

2029 - HOA common areas

2031 - Local government properties in disadvantaged communities (DAC)


Marin Water prohibition on using District water for irrigating new decorative/non-functional grass

To prevent future water waste, Marin Water prohibits the use of its water for irrigating any new ornamental lawn in commercial and municipal landscapes. This prohibition, codified as Ordinance No. 459,  applies only to new and rehabilitated commercial and municipal areas, and not to residential properties or recreational areas. 

What types of commercial and municipal landscapes does the prohibition apply to? 

The rule 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. 

Why is the prohibition in place? 

Marin Water hopes to discourage new installations of purely decorative grass around business complexes and in street medians by restricting use of potable and recycled water supplies for grass care and maintenance. The District has 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.  

What recommended water-efficient landscape alternatives should I consider? 

For guidance on designing and selecting plants for your landscape project, visit our WaterSmart Gardening Resource Center.