Non-Functional Turf and Homeowners Associations

Non-Functional Turf and Homeowners Associations

Non-Functional Turf and Homeowners Associations

Overview of the California Water Conservation Law - AB 1572

The use of potable water to irrigate nonfunctional turf has been declared wasteful and incompatible with the State policy relating to climate change, water conservation, and reduced reliance on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.

AB 1572 took effect January 1, 2024, and prohibits the use of potable water for the irrigation of non-functional turf located on commercial, industrial, municipal, institutional, and common interest developments including homeowners associations. It requires these types of property owners to certify their compliance with these provisions. It also authorizes urban water suppliers, such as SCV Water, to enforce* these provisions.


* While SCV Water will prioritize education, awareness and programmatic support of this new law, SCV Water retains the option to enforce the law should a lack of public compliance merit such escalation.

 

NFT Examples

Isolated Turf (no trees or shrubs)

Mixed Landscape (turf and trees)

 

Looking for general information on NFT?

Click here for NFT Info 

 


What is non-functional turf (NFT)?

NFT is mowed grass that is decorative and not otherwise used for human recreation purposes. These areas of grass are commonly found between sidewalks and streets, in medians, in parking lots and in front of businesses, institutions, and common areas of developments maintained by homeowner associations.

What is a common interest development?

A common interest development (“CID”) is a real property development where property owners share a common set of financial obligations, property and easement rights established in a set of recorded restrictions (commonly referred to as "Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions" or  “CC&Rs”).

Common interest developments include:

  • Homeowners Associations
  • Mobile Home Parks
  • Senior Communities
Who does the law (AB 1572) affect?

SCV Water customers subject to this ban include commercial, industrial, institutional, and municipal customers, and homeowners association (HOA) common areas.

NFT does not apply to residential homes, school fields, sports fields, and areas regularly used for civic or community events.

The Benefits of Removing Non-Functional Turf

By replacing non-functional turf with more sustainable landscapes, you will:

  • Be making a long-term investment that will pay off through reduced water bills and potential rebate incentives. Typically, there is between 40-60% water savings in the areas converted to more sustainable landscapes.
  • Irrigate your sustainable landscape more efficiently with high-efficiency irrigation equipment.
  • Increase your landscape’s resilience to future droughts and watering restrictions.
  • Help California move toward a greener and water-efficient future.

We encourage you to communicate with your landscape contractor to determine the best course of action for your property.

HOA and other common interest developments such as mobile home parks and senior communities must comply with the law by January 1, 2029.

SCV Water is here to help!

We want to get to know your HOA, your HOA’s water efficiency goals and talk about how we can partner together to best serve you! We want to share information on current water regulations as well as rebates and programs available to HOAs.

 

Getting Started

  1. Request a meeting with the SCV Water Conservation team
  2. Request a free full irrigation survey with WaterWise, call 888-9879473
  3. Start a Lawn Replacement Program (LRP) Application
  4. Find resources for Water Efficient Landscape Design
  5. Find a Water Efficient Landscape Contractor 
  6. Legal guidance for CC&R updates

NFT Overview

Get the 4-1-1 on NFT.

Coming soon!

Smart Practice Guide

Best practices to help you comply with the law.

Coming soon!

 

 

 

Non-Functional Turf Toolkit for Homeowners Associations

SCV Water is encouraging Homeowners Associations (HOA) within our service area to use these outreach resources to help educate (1) your HOA (Board, management group and contracted landscapers), and (2) your residents on AB 1572: Potable Water – Non-functional Turf.  

AB 1572 bans the use of potable water for irrigation of decorative turf grass that is not used for recreational or civic purposes. These areas of grass are commonly found between sidewalks and streets, and in common areas of developments maintained by homeowners associations.

The goal is to increase awareness and understanding of the following:

 

Understand how NFT affects HOAs

  1. Homeowners associations (e.g., Boards, management groups and contracted landscapers) need to understand how they must comply with the law.
  2. For homeowners to understand what changes the HOA must make in their community.

Understand how NFT affects residents individually

  1. NFT does not apply to individual residents' properties.

 

Individual toolkit items coming soon! Stay tuned for more information.

 

Questions?

For questions about non-functional turf and homeowners associations, please contact the SCV Water Conservation team at conservation@scvwa.org.

 


 

Rebates & Resources

Our goal is to partner with our customers by prioritizing education, engagement and program support.

Take advantage of SCV Water’s rebate programs:​​​​​

Lawn Replacement

Pictured: Common Area LRP Project

Irrigation Efficiency

Pictured: Drip Irrigation

Or visit our Conservation Rebate Portal for more information.

PRO TIP: Plan your projects out and prepare your landscape for modifications in Spring/Fall during planting season when the weather is milder.


Top Tree Care Tips

Are you worried about how complying with the NFT law will affect your trees? Click on the button for the top tips to keep your trees happy and healthy.

Top Tree Care Tips

Pictured: Trees in a Common Area

Smart Practice Guidance

How to Cap Pop-Up Spray Heads

For irrigation zones that use pop-up spray heads, a universal cap can be installed in 2-3 minutes per spray body without having to dig, replace equipment, or completely remove. Below is a “Cap It” example, although your specific situation may vary. Contact your landscape professional to determine if capping it is the right solution for your non-functional turf areas.

Click the image to view at full size.

 

How to Cap a Sprinkler Head in Under 1 Minute
(for Pop-Up Sprinkler Body Caps)

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

General

What is AB 1572?

AB 1572 prohibits the use of potable water for the irrigation of non-functional turf (NFT) located on commercial, industrial, municipal, institutional, and common interest developments including homeowners associations (HOA). It requires property owners (identified above) to certify their compliance with these provisions. It also authorizes urban water suppliers, such as SCV Water, to enforce these provisions.

Who decides if turf is functional or non-functional?

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has provided the current definition of NFT, and will provide more detailed definitions as well as certification and compliance forms by January 1, 2025.

What is non-functional turf (NFT)?

Non-Functional Turf (NFT) is mowed grass that is decorative and not otherwise used for human recreation purposes. It applies to the turf maintained by SCV Water’s Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional (CII) customers including common areas of homeowners associations as well as common interest developments.

Does NFT apply to residential properties?

No, NFT does not apply to residential properties, school fields, sports fields, and areas regularly used for civic or community events.

When must my property comply with the law (AB 1572)?

Compliance Schedule

AB 1572 took effect January 1, 2024. The schedule below identifies the timeframe for various customer groups to comply with the law.

Customer Groups Compliance Date
State government properties January 1, 2027
Commercial, industrial and institutional properties January 1, 2028
Homeowners association common areas
Mobile home parks
Retirement communities
January 1, 2029
Local government properties in disadvantaged communities (DAC) January 1, 2031
How must my property comply with the law (AB 1572)?

Applicable customer groups must permanently discontinue the watering of NFT by specified dates and provide compliance reports to the State Water Resources Control Board on an annual basis.

For a more in-depth look at the ways to comply, review our NFT Smart Practice Guide.

We encourage customers to communicate with your landscape contractor to determine the best course of action for your property.

How can my entity partner with SCV Water?
Are rebates or incentives available for the removal of NFT?

Yes, SCV Water offers rebates for Lawn Replacement and for high-efficiency irrigation. Visit our Conservation Rebate Portal for more information.

What can be planted instead of grass?

Affected customers are encouraged to replace their grass with water-efficient plants. Visit our Rebates page for Large Landscapes and HOAs to learn more about SCV Water’s Lawn Replacement Program.

Will there be enforcement and/or penalties? If so, who will be responsible?

While SCV Water will prioritize education, awareness and programmatic support of this new law, SCV Water retains the option to enforce the law should a lack of public compliance merit such escalation.  The City of Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County also has the ability to enforce the NFT watering ban.

 

HOA Specific

How does this affect HOAs?

HOAs will be required to show compliance with AB 1572 by January 1, 2029.

How do HOAs get started with NFT removal? 

 

More Information

Reference Materials

Please refer to the documents and links below for more information on HOAs and non-functional turf, as well as SCV Water’s Water Conservation Ordinance, which includes important water conservation requirements:

Landscaping is one of the biggest users of water and we’re counting on you to do your part to save and conserve the Santa Clarita Valley’s precious water supplies! ​​

NFT and Residential Landscapes Within a HOA

According to the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (California Civil Code, Chapter 5, Article 1, Section 4735), a homeowners association (HOA) may not impose a fine for reducing watering of lawns or vegetation during a drought emergency that was either declared by the Governor or local government. Additionally, homeowners may remove their lawns and replace them with water-wise plants. If a homeowner installs water-efficient landscaping during the drought, a HOA cannot prevent them from maintaining it or require them to remove it when there is no longer a drought state of emergency. A HOA also cannot prohibit, or include conditions that have the effect of prohibiting, the use of low-water-using plants as a group or as a replacement of existing grass.

 

Contact Us

Please reach out to us via email at conservation@scvwa.org with the subject line: NFT and HOAs for any questions, comments or concerns about non-functional turf and how it may affect your HOA.