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CA’s Sonoma County Requires Water-efficient Landscaping

landscapingNew or revised landscaping at commercial buildings in California’s Sonoma County will have to adhere to strict new water efficiency rules, reports the North Bay Business Journal.

The rules, which also apply to homes, took effect Jan. 15.

Commercial and industrial buildings, wineries and other businesses making landscaping additions larger than 400 square feet will have to limit landscaping irrigation to 60 percent of the water required by a similar space composed entirely of lawn.

The corresponding state rule for landscape irrigation is for the equivalent of 70 percent of turf water use. That rule took effect Jan. 1.

Landscapes with weather-based irrigation controllers are exempt from the rule.

The rule requires businesses to present landscape plans with water budgets, a soil management report and irrigation audits, among other factors.

Water availability is a rising concern for California businesses.

The state is proposing rules that would limit the use of Russian River water for frost protection by vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, reports the Press Democrat.

Vineyards typically draw water from the river during periods of frost to spray over vines to protect them from damage. In 2008 and 2009, this practice drew the river so low in certain parts that coho salmon and steelhead were stranded and killed.

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