Faced with a deepening drought, county supervisors proposed an ordinance allowing homeowners to use household waste water, or "gray water," for watering trees and shrubs.

The board on Tuesday directed the county counsel and the Department of Health Services to draft a law permitting residents in unincorporated areas to install or modify drains to collect and distribute gray water for irrigation.Gray water is the soapy water produced by showers, tubs, kitchens and washing machines.

Some health officials have opposed using waste water for such things as lawn and tree watering, saying it can spread disease-causing bacteria and other contaminants.