Governor Rescinds Drought State of Emergency

California Drought is Over

Thanks to our rainy winter, on April 7, 2017, Governor Brown declared that for most of California the “Drought State of Emergency” in effect since 2014 is over.
Download pdf Download a copy of the Executive Order

The only counties which remain in a state of emergency under the State order are Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne. Remember that some cities, counties and local water authorities declared their own states of emergency and these may still be in effect.

What does this mean for community associations?

  1. Under Civil Code section 4735(c), community associations will be able to impose fines or assessments against owners for failing to water their landscaping unless the city or county governments or water authorities have declared a local emergency due to drought.
  2. Civil Code section 4735(a) voiding any governing document prohibitions on replacing turf with low water-using plants or artificial turf remains in effect so these types of landscaping changes must continue to be allowed subject to reasonable restrictions.
  3. Civil Code section 4735(e) prevents a community association from requiring an owner to remove or reverse water-efficient landscaping measures installed by an owner during the state of emergency.
  4. Civil Code section 4736 would allow any pressure washing requirements in governing documents to be reinstated unless the city or county governments or water authorities have declared a local emergency due to drought.
  5. The executive order continues to prohibit these practices:
  • Hosing off sidewalks, driveways and other hardscape
  • Washing automobiles with hoses that do not have a shut-off nozzle
  • Using non-recirculated water in fountains and decorative water features
  • Watering lawns in a manner that causes runoff
  • Watering lawns within 48 hours of measurable precipitation
  • Irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians