With California’s state water board recently adopting emergency regulations aimed at cutting back the state’s overall water use by 25 percent, developers are scrambling to get a handle on what the water restrictions might mean for their current and future projects.
Among developers’ concerns are lengthy delays in getting project approval, the potential for opponents to use water as an additional means of attempting to block projects, and the tricky prospect of having to redesign both landscaping and interior water usage aspects of projects to meet the new state regulations.
With the difficulty in gaining approval and the threat of additional litigation, developers are likely going to have to make some drastic changes to the traditional landscaped lawns that often accompany multifamily and office campus projects, lawyers say.
“To meet the cut, it will be hard for people to continue watering,” said Eric L. Garner of Best Best & Krieger LLP.
The solution for some developers will be “xeriscaping,” or designing desert-like lawns that require little or no water, Garner said.
Lawyers say developers are placing a much greater emphasis on finding any way possible to conserve water as they draw up their plans in preparation for navigating what is often a long entitlement process in California.
“There’s a much greater emphasis on efficiency than you’ve seen in the past,” Garner said. “Residential development can continue. It’s just going to have to look a little different.”
To read the full article in Law360, which ran May 11, 2015, click here. (Subscription Required)