SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A pair of California bills aimed at curbing water use for landscaping has cleared the California State Assembly.

On Wednesday, AB 1573, which requires the use of California native plants, and AB 1572, banning the use of potable water for irrigation on non-functional turf, passed onto the Senate.

What You Need To Know

  • AB 1573 requires the use of native plants in new and renovated commercial and industrial areas, including parking lots

  • AB 1572 prohibits the use of potable water to irrigate any turf that isn't used for recreation or community space

  • The bills passed the California State Assembly Wednesday

  • If passed, AB 1573 would be phased in starting Jan. 1, 2026, and AB 1572 would phase in starting Jan. 1, 2027

“Landscaping has so much potential to support California’s important goals to conserve water, support biodiversity and connect more people to nature,” Assembly member Laura Friedman, D-Burbank, said in a statement.

Friedman is the author of both bills.

AB 1573 is the first bill of its kind that seeks to replace the use of decorative grasses in new and renovated commercial and industrial areas, including parking lots.

If signed into law, it would require that such areas use 25% local native plants beginning Jan. 1, 2026, and increase to at least 75% beginning Jan. 1, 2035.

Friedman said the bill addresses the interdependence of native plants, insects and birds in maintaining biodiversity. Friedman cited a recent report from the nonprofit NatureServe that found 34% of plants and 40% of animal species in the U.S. are at risk of extinction.

California, it found, has the highest percentage of at-risk species.

“We understand that our industry partners — growers, nurseries and landscapes — need time to prepare and adapt,” Friedman said of the bill that focuses only on commercial and public works projects, not home landscapes, edible gardens or lawns used for recreation and civic gatherings.

AB 1572 takes a similar phased-in approach to AB 1573. If passed, starting on Jan. 1, 2027, AB 1572 would prohibit the use of drinkable water to irrigate any turf that isn’t used for recreation or community space on all properties owned or leased by the Department of General Services.

One year later, it would expand to properties owned by local agencies and public water systems. By Jan. 1, 2030, it would apply to common areas of all multifamily residential properties, and by Jan. 1, 2031, to all common areas of multifamily residential affordable housing properties.