To save water, new California homes will have less lawn

The days of expansive lawns carpeting the space around new homes are numbered in California.

The California Water Commission on Wednesday approved revisions to the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance that severely limit the amount of water that can be used by landscapes surrounding newly constructed buildings such as houses, businesses and schools.

Gov. Jerry Brown's historic April 1 executive order required regulators to update the ordinance to increase water efficiency and limit the areas that can be covered in turf as California struggles to conserve water in the fourth year of drought.

Adoption of the ordinance “is an important step in ensuring that California’s future growth will respect the necessity to conserve the state’s water resources,” said Joseph Byrne, chairman of the commission.

Under the new rules, grass will be all but banned in landscapes of new commercial, industrial and institutional buildings and could consume only about 25% of a homeowner's combined front, back and side yards.

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