Watering wars: Is brown the new green?

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California residents who are trying to save water during the drought can no longer be punished by homeowner associations concerned about the appearance of brown lawns.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a new law that removes the threat of fines for people who choose to let their grass and other greenery die.

The bill was spurred by the case of a Bay Area man who was facing up to $1,000 in fines from his homeowner association for letting his lawn die. The warning came even after the governor declared a drought emergency earlier this year.

Backers say allowing homeowner groups to slap fines on people trying to save water is nonsensical given the conservation message the state is trying to impart. Another bill working its way through the Legislature would stop homeowner organizations from fining members who rip out their lawns in favor of drought-resistant landscaping.

Neither law addresses fees or fines imposed by local governments. In one case that’s received a lot of attention, a Glendora couple has been threatened with a $500 penalty for letting their lawn turn brown.

Read more from the LA Times.