WASHINGTON, D.C.-A coalition of green industry organizations, including the International Turfgrass Producers, finally convinced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove the controversial 40 percent turfgrass restriction in the landscape section of its WaterSense program.

The EPA has announced a "Notice of Intent" to remove the 40 percent turfgrass restriction from the Watersense single-family new home specification to accommodate for varying regional climate conditions.

"Many TPI members may not realize the efforts that have gone into getting this done.  This is a huge success for TPI and our coalition partners who have been working on this for over 3 years and have repeatedly met with EPA in an effort to remove the turfgrass restriction," said TPI’s Executive Director, Kirk Hunter, who was actively involved in meeting with and providing information to EPA decision-makers in Washington. 

The Watersense single-family new home labeling program that enabled a new home to qualify for a Watersense label had previously contained two options for landscape design: (1) adhere to water budget tool, or (2) restrict the use of turfgrass to 40 percent of the landscapable area. 

With the recent announcement by Watersense, the only requirement for builders wishing to be eligible for this labeling would be to adhere to the water budget tool. 

Hunter went on to say, "Through our coalition efforts, we have also submitted letters and comments regarding the IGCC (International Green Construction Code) limitation of 40 percent turfgrass in the landscape which may have been influenced by the initial guidelines proposed by the EPA that are now going to be removed." 

Response from various green industry organizations echoed TPI’s enthusiasm over the decision. John Farner, Federal Affairs Director for the Irrigation Association commented, "This announcement by Watersense is a huge win…and green industry partners should celebrate."