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CALIFORNIA WATER CONSERVATION: WHERE'S THE LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR?
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CALIFORNIA WATER CONSERVATION: WHERE'S THE LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR?

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Responding to KNX 1070 and KCal 9 TV's superb coverage, Assemblyman Steve Clute outlines California Water Conservation in Landscaping Act, AB 325 on which he was lead author on the bill as a …

Responding to KNX 1070 and KCal 9 TV's superb coverage, Assemblyman Steve Clute outlines California Water Conservation in Landscaping Act, AB 325 on which he was lead author on the bill as a Democratic assemblyman representing Riverside County. It was passed into law by Gov Deukmejian in Sept. 1990. During this severe drought of 2014, why isn't it revisited, perhaps strengthened and enforced?

*Images from Getty Images/www.losangeles.cbslocal.com website article "Running On Empty"

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  • 1. July 31, 14 Water Conservation, Page 1 Running On Empty Water Conservation
  • 2. July 31, 14 Water Conservation, Page 2 Where Have The Legislature And Governor Been? Re: Running on Empty, Water Conservation: Actually during the period of 1989 - 1993 there was significant legisla- tion created, passed and signed into law by the Governor. It was known as the Water Conservation in Landscaping Act, AB 325 ( chap- ter 1145, Statute 1990 ) approved by Gov Deukmejian in Sept. 1990. AB 325 required the Dept. of Water Resources to adopt a model water efficient landscape ordinance for the state, by Jan. 1, 1992. It created
  • 3. July 31, 14 Water Conservation, Page 3 a 13 member task force to advise the Director of DWR on an appropri- ate model and required local governments to adopt a local ordinance by Jan. 1, 1993 or they will have the model go into effect for them. The task force members represented industries, businesses, local govern- ments and others involved in landscaping, horticulture and water con- servation. These major players provided input and supported the legislation - Construction Industry Legislative Council, League of CA Cities, CA Sod Producers Assoc., Assoc. of CA Water Agencies and County of Los Angeles. Emmons Mc Clung representing CILC wrote " If California is to be able to accommodate the anticipated growth, it will be necessary to make wise use of all resources. Your bill will do much to assure an ad- equate water supply in the future." Yvonne Hunter with League of CA Cities stated, " AB 325 provides a reasonable balance between the need to have local governments adopt water efficient landscape ordinances, allowing them the flexibil- ity to adopt an ordinance that meets their unique needs, and providing a model ordinance they may use if desired. Given the current drought conditions facing California, we support AB 325 as a reasonable means with which to conserve and make more efficient use of water." Eddie Zuckerman of CSPA wrote in a letter to Senator Alfred Alquist, " AB 325 will address a critical need to get industry input into a state landscape water model ordinance. With the fourth year of drought, lo- cal governments are under increasing pressure to conserve water in the landscape. Local ordinances are being adopted without the bene- fits of the expertise offered by the industry. As professionals in the landscape industry, we know what works and what doesn't, which products are now under development, and which are many years away. This bill allows us to join with other experts in the field to offer
  • 4. July 31, 14 Water Conservation, Page 4 our assistance in preparing a model landscape water conservation or- dinance." John Fraser of ACWA wrote " This is to express the support of ACWA for AB 325 relating to landscaping ordinances. This measure will help to encourage water conservation through drought resistant landscap- ing ordinances." And Clancy Leland representing County of Los Angeles wrote to Sen- ator Ruben Ayala, " AB 325 recognizes that California needs to mini- mize the use of water for landscaping and make better use of our lim- ited water supply, especially during dry periods. We urge the Commit- tee's 'AYE' vote on AB 325. I was the lead author on the bill as a democratic assemblyman repre- senting Riverside County. The measure was introduced with members Chacon and Filante, the former a democrat representing San Diego and the latter a republican representing Marin and Sonoma Counties. The key staff person on AB 325 was Toby Ewing. The bill had all the right components to establish a culture and practice of water efficient landscaping through- out most of California. The full law never seemed to be properly exe- cuted and enforced. So what happened? I don't have all the answers. I do know this much: Governor Deukmejian left in early '91 as Governor Pete Wilson succeeded him. I left in '92. At this point it was in the domain of Wilson and his DWR Director to enforce the Water Conservation in Landscaping Act. DWR was required to report back to the legislature on the status/enforce- ment of AB 325. The good news is that the template is in place. To reenact this meas- ure, perhaps with more teeth to reflect the current water crisis, I be- lieve would still be a positive service and value for Californians!
  • 5. July 31, 14 Water Conservation, Page 5 Sincerely, Steve Clute Former State Assemblyman steveclute31@gmail.com