Stop The Madness!

Rex Hime
President and CEO of the California Business Properties Association

When will government finally get it? At a time when California businesses are laying off thousands of people and struggling to keep the lights on, and local governments are having to do the same, here comes word of potentially new state regulations that not only would cost companies tens of thousands of dollars and jobs, but will also dramatically impact local governments — further exacerbating our economic crisis and adding to local governments overburdened responsibilities.

Right now the state is looking to adopt a new “Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance” to encourage greater water efficiency – something that is both needed and strongly supported by all who recognize the importance of conserving water.

In fact, many companies have come to recognize that water efficiency is vital in not only reducing their operating costs, but more importantly help them in reducing their carbon footprints – less water equals less energy, which equals less greenhouse gases.

Unfortunately, the water efficiency proposal being recommended and as currently drafted would provide little to no increased water efficiency. What it would do is dramatically increase the costs for businesses and local governments in terms of compliance costs, reviews, staffing time and bureaucratic red-tape.

In fact and to illustrate this point, based on the analysis of experts in landscaping and irrigation, the new requirements will break the back of the already struggling residential and commercial development sectors – meaning more layoffs and further adding to California’s rising unemployment rate. Specifically, the new Model Ordinance would only allow the use of drip irrigation systems in certain landscape areas. Because of this limitation a 50,000 square-foot slope area with a drip system would cost $83,000 more than a conventional rotor system, currently allowed today, and would save the property owner a mere $200 a year in water costs – this is crazy!

On the local government side of the equation it is going to obligate the hiring of hundreds of new technically proficient personnel to meet the overly-complicated compliance process. It includes multiple and unnecessary field audits – before, during and after construction – at a time when they have no funding and in many instances are having to lay off personnel due to declining revenues. And what about the added costs to the thousands of miles of highway landscaping – oh that’s right we have already stopped those projects because of the budget stalemate.

Rather than adopt a seriously flawed measure that would not only kill more jobs and dramatically increase the cost for businesses and local governments, with limited to no increased water efficiency – many are asking that the state please reconsider and actually pull this back so that it be can be done right and ensure a measure that not only actually saves water, but one that wouldn’t further add to California’s growing economic crisis. Let’s see who is listening.

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