The new regulation was approved on June 10 and is effective immediately.

Morgan Hill resident Stu Nuttall took out his lawn years ago to conserve water. Morgan Hill file photo.

By Staff Reports

The State Water Board adopted a new water conservation emergency regulation in June to ensure more aggressive water conservation across the state.

The dry weather in the first half of 2022 is impacting the local and state water supply and Santa Clara County remains in a severe drought, said Andi Borowski, environmental services assistant with the city of Morgan Hill.

“While the winter in California got off to a great start with record rain and snow in December, the weather since has not been supportive of drought relief,” she said. “January through June has been the driest on record for California.”

Statewide, the snowpack for California has dropped to just 22 percent of average as of May 11. In normal years, Santa Clara County is heavily dependent on the Sierra Nevada snowpack because it makes up more than half of the water that comes from outside of Santa Clara County.

The low snowpack and early and rapid snowmelt in California are major contributors to ongoing drought impacts throughout summer and early fall. Morgan Hill is in a Level 4 water supply shortage, which requires increased conservation efforts from all.

In addition, the State Water Board has adopted a new water conservation emergency regulation to ensure more aggressive water conservation across the state.

The new regulation applies to commercial, industrial, and institutional properties, including homeowners’ associations (HOAs), throughout the state of California, including all of Morgan Hill.

The regulation requires owners and managers of commercial, industrial, institutional properties, and HOAs immediately cease using potable water for irrigating non-functional turf. The regulation defines non-functional turf as a ground cover surface of mowed grass that is solely ornamental and not otherwise used for human recreation purposes. All water provided by the city of Morgan Hill and all well water in the South Valley area is potable water.

The regulation does not apply to the following: residences including those located within HOAs, school fields, sports fields, areas regularly used for civic or community events, and water used to maintain trees.

The new regulation was approved on June 10 and is effective immediately. The regulation will remain in effect for one year unless the State Water Board modifies it, readopts it, or ends it before then. A fine of $500 per day has been set by the state for violations of the regulation.

A landscape rebate program is available until June 30, 2023, or until funds are depleted.

The city of Morgan Hill partners with Valley Water to provide this program designed to encourage residents and businesses to convert approved high water use landscape, such as lawns and pools, to low water use landscape and retrofit existing irrigation equipment with approved high-efficiency irrigation equipment. Sites wishing to participate in the rebate program must complete a pre-inspection and submit an online application for approval before beginning any work on their project. Visit Valley Water’s website for complete details:

More information on water conservation is available on the city’s website at: