SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Trying to conserve water could lead to punishment as some homeowners associations won’t allow residents to change their lawns to be more drought resistant without paying a price.

That obstacle to water conservation has caught the eye of an assemblywoman who wants to make that a thing of the past.

Mitch Melody is well aware of the drought and has been trying to make changes to save water at her West Sacramento home.

“I’m going to do more succulent-style and just whatever I can that’s drought resistant,” she said.

But her homeowners association has strict rules and changes to her green grass could mean a penalty.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has proposed a bill that would prevent that from happening.

“We need to be more responsible in California,” she said. “We need to start looking at our situation, not taking rain for granted, not taking water for granted.”

Not everyone is thrilled about the idea though.

“Where would you draw the line?” asked Richard Hunkins.

He said he moved to an HOA, because he likes the uniformity of the front yards. He wonders if people are allowed to make changes to their yard as they please, it could lead to an ugly look to the neighborhood.

“Someone comes out and just puts all rock and says, well that’s it,” he said.

Melody says it’s possible to make her lawn water-efficient and welcoming at the same time.

I don’t feel I should be penalized from the HOA as long as I still maintain a clean environment or clean-looking yard,” she said.

The same bill was considered, but not passed by under previous Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


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