McKeon, Jasey & Eustace Bill to Help Conserve Water by Requiring Operational Automatic Rain Sensors on Lawn Sprinklers on Certain Properties Clears Panel

(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel released on Thursday legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon, Mila Jasey and Tim Eustace to require installation of operational automatic rain sensors on lawn sprinklers as condition of sale and on lawn sprinklers on commercial, retail or industrial property and in common interest communities within a specified timeframe.

State law currently requires newly installed sprinkler systems to be equipped with such sensors. The sponsors said the intent of this bill is to codify the requirement for certain properties in the state.

“While rain fall helps to replenish reservoirs, the state must still ward against the potential of a drought anytime of the year,” said McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). “For residents with automatic sprinkler systems, sensors in the ground that can detect moisture levels and only turn the system on when water is actually needed and other forms of rain sensors can help conserve the state’s water supply.”

The bill (A-1484) requires every contract of sale of real property upon which a lawn sprinkler system was installed on or prior or September 8, 2000 must include a provision requiring, as a condition of the sale, the installation of an operational automatic rain sensor device or switch that will override the irrigation cycle of the automatic lawn sprinkler system when adequate rainfall has occurred.

“There are better ways to manage our water when it comes to the use of lawn sprinklers,” said Jasey (D-Essex, Morris). “Mandating automatic lawn sprinkler systems will help the state to conserve water and to use our water resources more responsibly.”

“This legislation puts in place a conservation practice that will save water and money,” said Eustace (D-Bergen, Passaic). “Anything we can do to avoid droughts in the future is a step in the right direction.”

Under the bill, closing of title on the sale of any real property cannot occur unless documentation is provided demonstrating the installation of an operational automatic rain sensor device or switch. At closing, the buyer and seller both must certify in writing that the requirements of this subsection have been met. However, these provisions will not apply to the closing of title on the sale of property within a common interest community.

Within 24 months after the date of enactment of this bill for common interest communities and within 12 months for any commercial, retail or industrial properties, an automatic lawn sprinkler must be retrofitted with an operational automatic rain sensor device or switch that will override the irrigation cycle of the automatic lawn sprinkler system.

The bill was released by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste committee and now goes to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.