July 14, 2015 / 5:40 AM / 2 years ago

Gold is the new brown as drought-hit California drops lawn fines

(Reuters) - California residents who let their green lawns turn brown and brittle will no longer face the possibility of fines for an unkempt yard under a new law to encourage water conservation during the state’s drought.

The measure, signed on Monday by California Governor Jerry Brown, prohibits a city or county from imposing a fine on a homeowner for the failure to water a lawn or for having a brown lawn during the drought emergency.

Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, who sponsored the measure, said she knew of a number of cities and towns that had been leveling fines on homeowners for allowing their grass to go brown even as state officials have asked the public to “severely limit” outdoor water use this summer.

Part of the state “Save Our Water” campaign urges Californians to let lawns “fade to gold for the summer.”

California is in the fourth year of a catastrophic drought that has led the state to issue a series of steps to reduce water consumption, including the first-ever mandatory cutbacks in urban water use.

Starting this week, California parks will no longer offer showers for people to wash sand and salt from their bodies at the beach.

Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Paul Tait

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