Drought impact: South Tahoe utility to prohibit watering ornamental grass
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Grass at businesses, office parks and along some South Lake Tahoe roads will likely go brown this summer with California suffering through its third year of acute drought, part of a two-decade megadrought facing the U.S. West that scientists say is the worst in 1,200 years.
California last week approved stricter drought restrictions to reduce water use this summer. Acting on an executive order by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted emergency drought regulations that require water providers to activate their drought plan to prepare for up to a 20% water shortage.
The state also banned irrigating “non-functional” grass at businesses and in common areas of homeowner associations. “Non-functional” turf is defined as “solely ornamental” and not regularly used for recreation purposes or community events. This does not apply to yards at individual homes, nor does it apply to sports fields, grassy areas where people gather, like Lakeview Commons or Bijou Park, or for watering to keep trees healthy.
The South Tahoe Public Utility District starting on Friday, June 10, is prohibiting South Lake Tahoe businesses from watering ornamental grass.
These restrictions will remain in effect for one year unless the State Water Board modifies or ends the emergency, the district said. Violators can be fined $500 per day.
For STUPD residential customers, designated watering days will continue to be enforced this summer. Customers with even numbered street addresses water Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Customers with odd numbered street addresses water Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.
“The district has taken a proactive approach regarding drought management, which helps minimize the impacts from the state’s drought restrictions,” said STPUD Public Affairs and Conservation Manager Shelly Thomsen. “I encourage customers to take advantage of our water conservation rebates and services to save water and money.”
For STPUD customers interested in replacing water thirsty grass with Tahoe friendly landscaping, you can sign up for the turf buy-back program while funds are available to receive $1.50 per square foot up to $2,000. For tips and tricks on how to improve irrigation efficiency or modify irrigation systems to only water trees and shrubs, you can sign-up for a free Water Wise Landscape Consultation.
For more information, visit stpud.us/waterconsv.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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