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Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance

2015 – Updating the State Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (per Governor’s Executive Order B-29-15)

In California, about half of the urban water is used for landscape irrigation. Substantial water savings can be gained by proper landscape design, installation and maintenance. To improve water savings in this sector, DWR is updating the Model Ordinance. The Model Ordinance promotes efficient landscapes in new developments and retrofitted landscapes.

The Executive Order calls for revising the Model Ordinance to increase water efficiency standards for new and retrofitted landscapes through more efficient irrigation systems, greywater usage, onsite storm water capture, and by limiting the portion of landscapes that can be covered in turf. It also requires reporting on the implementation and enforcement of local ordinances, with required reports due by December 31, 2015. Updating the ordinance to incorporate these elements will help stretch our limited water supplies.


The schedule for the 2015 update to the Model Ordinance is as follows:

Solicit input from stakeholders – through May 27

Public draft release – June 12

Public meeting (northern California) – June 19, 10 AM-12 PM, State Resources Building Auditorium, 1416 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Public meeting (southern California) – June 16, 10 AM-12 PM, Metropolitan Water District, 700 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, California 90012

Public comment period ends - June 26

Consideration for approval at California Water Commission meeting – July 15 (note: the ordinance was approved)

File with Office of Administrative Law – following

How to Participate

The public is encouraged to participate by providing early input prior to release of the public draft, and comments after release of the public draft. Verbal and written comments can be submitted to:

California Department of Water Resources
Urban Water Use Efficiency Unit
ATTN: Julie Saare-Edmonds, Senior Environmental Scientist
P.O. Box 942836
Sacramento, CA 94236-0001 Email:
Telephone: 916-651-9676

2010 Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance AB 1881

Model Ordinance Technical Assistance

For more information about the
Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance, please contact
Julie Saare-Edmonds
(916) 651-9676

Adoption of the Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance
Please read the attached letter from Department of Water Resources Director regarding the adoption of the Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.

Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance Workshops
In October and November 2009 DWR partnered with the California Urban Water Conservation Council and various organizations throughout the state to conduct a series of workshops. Below are the presentation slides

Workshop presentation slides

Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) on September 10, 2009. The regulatory action becomes effective immediately. You can download copies of the updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance either in Microsoft Word (doc) or Acrobat (pdf) from the link below.

  Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance [ Word ] [ PDF ]

For history of the updated MWELO rulemaking and other updated MWELO historical document click here.

Assembly Bill 1881 required that before DWR adopts the updated ordinance, it must report to the Legislature the extent local agencies have complied with the 1990 model water efficient landscape ordinance (AB325-1990). Also, DWR's recommendations regarding the landscape water budget, or the ET adjustment factor, is included in the report. Click here to retrieve the report.

Legislative References
AB 1881 (2006, Laird) Water Conservation
AB 2717 (2004, Laird)-California Urban Water Conservation Council