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ICC News Release
For Immediate Release
August 18, 2015
Contact: Steve Daggers
1-888-ICC-SAFE (422-7233),

ICC, ASABE Standard Referenced in California Emergency Drought Plan

To help combat one of the state’s worst droughts in history, officials in California adopted stricter lawn-reduction rules based in part on irrigation regulations developed by the International Code Council (ICC) and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). The new rules, which take effect Dec. 1, specify using drought-tolerant plants on lawns for new homes with more than 500 square feet of landscaped area, and limits turf grass to 25 percent of landscaping, down from a third.

The new rules reference ASABE/ICC 802-2014 Landscape Irrigation Sprinkler and Emitter Standard, developed by ICC and ASABE. Adopted by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) as part of the Model Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance (MWELO), it is part of the prescriptive measures within the adopted language. This standard not only promotes water conservation, but also embraces innovation, best practices, smart irrigation management and good consumer habits.

“Compliance with ASABE/ICC 802-2014 ensures irrigation systems use less water by providing uniform distribution and uniform growth,” said ICC Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO. “It makes for a healthier, more resistant landscape with minimal water use, and greatly increases the ability of compliance agencies to verify irrigation systems are properly designed during the plan review process.”

ICC staff working along with the California Building Officials has attended hearings and filed public comments on how to address the drought using ASABE/ICC 802. The standard represents collaboration among a wide range of industry stakeholders, including representatives from major manufacturers, the U.S. EPA WaterSense Program, the Irrigation Association, the Alliance for Water Efficiency, major water utilities, landscape architects, regulators and academia.

The standard specifically defines and categorizes various types of devices, including sprays, rotors, multi-stream/multi-trajectory nozzles, bubblers, drip emitters and microsprays. It also addresses standardized test procedures for common test parameters including flow rate, distance of throw and uniformity.

Other highlights include:

  • Burst pressure test procedures and minimum requirements
  • Distribution uniformity calculation methods based on various spacing types
  • Minimum requirements for integral pressure regulation
  • New test procedures for missing or damaged nozzles
  • New test procedures for drip emitters and microsprays coordinated with the ISO 9261 standard
  • New provisions for the communication of product performance data

ASABE/ICC 802-2014 is cited by the 2014 U.S. EPA WaterSense program in the WaterSense® Notice of Intent (NOI) to develop a Draft Specification for Landscape Irrigation Sprinklers. For details, see A number of other organizations and jurisdictions also are evaluating the standard as a way to improve minimum standards of installed landscape irrigation systems. For more information on ASABE/ICC 802-2014, go to


About the International Code Council

The International Code Council is a member-focused association. It is dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Codes.