Today Governor Brown signed an executive order declaring that effective immediately the “Drought State of Emergency” is terminated in all of California counties, except Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Tuolumne. The executive order also had the effect of rescinding a previous emergency proclamation and four executive orders regarding the drought. And, the newest executive order affirmed one previous executive order regarding the drought. So what does it all mean?

Some of the additions to the Civil Code over the last few years were contingent on a declaration of a state of emergency due to drought. For example, the law that provided that an association could not fine an owner for reducing or eliminating the watering of vegetation or lawn was written to be effective only during a declaration of a state of emergency due to drought. Likewise, the law that stated that the governing documents could not require pressure washing of the exterior of a home was also dependent on a declaration of a state of emergency due to drought. These laws are no longer in effect (except in counties excluded from the Governor’s executive order).
Keep in mind that the law provides that when water-efficient landscaping measures have been installed in response to a declaration of a state of emergency, the owner shall not be required to reverse or remove the water-efficient landscaping measures upon the conclusion of the state of emergency.

Certain activities are still prohibited. These include:

  • Hosing of hardscape, including driveways and sidewalks.
  • Washing vehicles with a hose that is not equipped with a shut-off nozzle.
  • Using non-circulated water in a fountain, or similar decorative water feature.
  • Causing water run-off from watering lawns within 48 hours of measurable precipitation.
  • Irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians.

View the executive order here.

Christopher J. Bonkowski

Christopher J. Bonkowski has significant experience in the areas of general civil litigation including property law, casualty litigation, business/commercial litigation, and products liability law. He now focuses his practice primarily in the areas of real estate, corporate law and the comprehensive representation of community associations throughout California.

Mr. Bonkowski has published several articles on various topics concerning common interest subdivisions.

Mr. Bonkowski is licensed to practice in the State of California as well as in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. He is a member of the Orange County Bar Association and successfully completed the LACBA Trial Advocacy Program.