Gov. Brown Signs Bill Allowing Californian’s Lawns To Turn Brown During Drought -- July 14, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday allowing Southern California residents to let their lawns turn a golden brown without being fined during the historic drought.

Brown signed AB 1 into law Monday afternoon which prohibits “city, county, or city and county from imposing a fine under any ordinance for a failure to water a lawn or having a brown lawn during a period for which the Governor has issued a proclamation of a state of emergency based on drought conditions,” according to the bill.

“We’re in drought conditions, but the reason we’re in a drought is because of the lack of inaction from Sacramento. We need to do more in terms of water recycling as well as a component of desalination,” saidAssemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, who voted for the bill. “I voted for (this bill) but we need to be more serious about taking care of California’s water needs. This is simply a band aid.”

AB 1 was written by Assemblymember Cheryl Brown, D- San Bernandino, and coauthored by Senator Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber.

“I am very happy that Governor has signed my bill prohibiting municipalities from fining their residents for not watering their lawns while we are in the worst drought in California’s history,” Cheryl Brown said.

In 2013, Governor Brown convened an interagency Drought Task Force to analyze California’s current water system and sustainability, according to a news release. As a result of the Drought Task Force’s findings, the Governor declared a State of Emergency and requested that Californians reduce their water usage by 20 percent. 

Cheryl Brown said some local municipalities have continued to enforce ordinances that require residents to maintain their green lawns and penalize those who choose to reduce or eliminate lawn watering or have brown lawns, according to a news release.

“It is sad that it took a law to protect homeowners who have tried diligently to conserve water,”  Cheryl Brown said. “However, this is a needed step in order to ensure that California manages its water resources efficiently during the drought.”

For more information about the bill, click here.

“We need to be more serious about our water,” Wilk said. “We have to be proactive in terms of addressing this drought.”