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San Jose restricting water usage for new development

San Jose's City Hall
Eugene Zelenko
Flickr / Creative Commons
San Jose's City Hall

Last week, San Jose councilmembers voted to amend the city's water efficient landscape ordinance – a 1993 rule which is periodically updated. City officials said there's an urgent need for new developments to only install drought-tolerant landscapes, citing the extreme dry conditions affecting the Bay Area and the state.

The amended ordinance applies to any new residential or business project with a landscape area, and it bars the use of high-water use plants, such as Kentucky bluegrass. It also prohibits turf--with a few exceptions--and the use of water sprinkler systems.

Conservationists applaud San Jose for adopting stricter landscaping requirements, but say the city will need more stringent measures in the near future to save water, given the severity of the state's drought.

San Jose officials declared a water shortage last October, following months of arid conditions across the Bay Area and much of California.

Some advocates are fighting San Jose Water Company's attempt to increase rates for hundreds of thousands of customers.