Posted on | May 13, 2009 | 5 Comments
UPDATE: 2/19/2010: The new book, Landscape Plants for California Gardens by Cal Poly Pomona professor Bob Perry, gives thorough descriptions for 2,100 landscape plants, their ET budgets, run downs on irrigation system efficiency needed to satisfy those budgets, and then links them all back by plant palette and climate zone groupings — for every climate zone in the state. For information on the major new book for professional landscape designers and architects as well as advanced home gardeners, click here.
UPDATE: 9/22/2009 — California’s Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance AB1881 was approved by the Office of Administrative Law on September 10, 2009. For a link to the announcement from the California Department of Water Resources, click here.
For a bullet point guide to it, done with help from Julie Ann Saare-Edmonds of the Landscape Program, Office of Water Use Efficiency, California Department of Water Resources, read on.
*There are relatively few changes from the previous 1990 law, AB 325. AB 1881 is mainly aimed at irrigation technology that will solve common problems such as such as swing joints, so when risers are broken off, they do not gush unnoticed for weeks.
* AB 1881 is mostly aimed at new construction and commercial landscapers.
* AB 1881 only applies to single family residences that are being put in by developers with gardens larger than 2,500 square feet, or to existing single family homes where the landscaped area is more than 5,000 sq feet and undergoing a changeover.
*AB 1881 comes into effect in 2010.
*AB 1881 will require landscapers to use “appropriate technology,” often meaning drip irrigation.
*AB 1881 does not and may not prohibit use of certain plants, such as turf grass.
*AB 1881 does, however, have a budget as to how much water may be applied to those plants and reduces the statewide ET factor from 0.8 to 0.7. If parts of the state have local ordinances operating lower than state law, then the lower ET rate applies there. So the folks in San Diego may not water more and blame Sacramento. The lower limits specified by AB 1881 do not apply to public recreational turf.
*Existing landscapes and irrigation systems will not be forced to retrofit under AB 1881 unless there is a renovation. (Editor’s note: So it will be up to local utility companies and city governments to use rebates to entice homeowners to upgrade.)
And the best for last….
*Parkways will now have to be irrigated without over-spray. No overhead irrigation is allowed in areas less than 8 feet wide and within 24″ of non-permeable hardscapes.
Pigeons who like puddles in the gutter will object, but “non-permeable hardscapes” mean the street.
Saare-Edmonds kindly sent this picture to show what can be done on parkways without lawn.