California imposed new restrictions on watering green spaces

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California is in its third year of an acute drought, part of a two-decade megadrought facing the U.S. West. January through March marked California’s driest winter in at least a century. State water officials adopted a ban Tuesday on watering certain green spaces. Starting June 10, watering some grass outside businesses, industrial facilities and institutions like colleges, hospitals and government facilities, as well as spaces managed by homeowners’ associations, won’t be allowed. The ban doesn’t apply to parks, sports fields, people’s lawns, or to watering trees. Violators can be fined $500 per day.

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Each district follows conservation requirements based on local plans. Officials from numerous water agencies urged the board not to force them all into further restrictions and instead give them more discretion based on their local supply conditions. Santa Cruz, as an example, is not as hot or dry as many parts of inland California and the city doesn’t get any water from state supplies. The next step in the district’s local plan is water rationing. All districts must initiate public outreach campaigns about water conservation.