Department of Water Resources Home

Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance

Division of Statewide Integrated Water Management

Water Use Efficiency
901 P Street Sacramento, CA 95814-3515

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 942836
Sacramento, CA 94236-0001

Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance AB 1881

Summary
Authoring legislation
What DWR is doing
Rulemaking Process
Schedule
How to Participate
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
Notice of Modifications to the Proposed Regulation
Notice of Status on the Proposed Regulation
Final Regulation Text and Final Statement of Reasons
Notice of 2nd 15-day Comment Period and Modified Text of the Regulation
DWR resubmits the ordinance to OAL

Summary

In 2004, AB 2717 was passed, it requested the California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC) to convene a stakeholder task force, composed of public and private agencies, to evaluate and recommend proposals by December 31, 2005, for improving the efficiency of water use in new and existing urban irrigated landscapes in California. Based on this charge, the Task Force adopted a comprehensive set of 43 recommendations, essentially making changes to the AB 325 of 1990 and updating the Model Local Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. The recommendation of the bill charges DWR to update the Model Efficient Landscape Ordinance and to upgrade CIMIS.

The Water Conservation in Landscaping Act of 2006 (AB 1881) enacts many, but not all of the recommendations reported to the Governor and Legislature in December 2005 by the CUWCC Landscape Task Force (Task Force). AB 1881 requires DWR, not later than January 1, 2009, by regulation, to update the model ordinance in accordance with specified requirements, reflecting the provisions of AB 2717. AB 1881 requires local agencies, not later January 1, 2010, to adopt the updated model ordinance or equivalent or it will be automatically adopted by statute. Also, the bill requires the Energy Commission, in consultation with the department, to adopt, by regulation, performance standards and labeling requirements for landscape irrigation equipment, including irrigation controllers, moisture sensors, emission devices, and valves to reduce the wasteful, uneconomic, inefficient, or unnecessary consumption of energy or water.

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Authoring legislation

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What DWR is doing

ET Adjustment Factors

Assembly Bill 1881 requires the Department to update the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance by January 1, 2009. Before adopting the updated ordinance, DWR must report to the Legislature the extent local agencies have complied with the 1990 model water efficient landscape ordinance (AB325-1990). Also included in this report will be a recommendation of what the landscape water budget, or the ET adjustment factor, should be in the updated Model Ordinance.

The Department of Water Resources has formed a Technical Advisory Committee to guide updating the Evapotranspiration Adjustment Factor. The technical advisory committee members represent a broad group of organizations, agencies, and the green industry. The existing Model Ordinance established a water budget based on the size of the landscape, reference evapotranspiration, and an ET Adjustment Factor. The ET Adjustment Factor when applied to ETo, adjusts the amount of water needed to be applied to the landscape accounting for plant factor and irrigation efficiency. A field verified ET Adjustment Factor or best available data and current knowledge, and surveys were needed to be completed in order to make the recommendation.

In the existing Model Ordinance, the ET Adjustment Factor is 0.8. Based on expected increase in irrigation efficiency to 71 percent, AB 2717 Taskforce proposed to lower the ET Adjustment Factor to 0.7. A combined plant mix remains the same with a plant factor of 0.5. Leading to the ET Adjustment Factor of (0.5/0.71) 0.7. A state-wide plant factor of 0.5 comes from a mix of approximately 1/3 high, 1/3 medium and 1/3 low water using plants. DWR has prepared draft Whitepaper examining existing information and making a recommendation for the ETAF. The recommended ETAF is 0.7 with average irrigation efficiency of 0.71 and plant factor of 0.5.

DWR White Paper: Evapotranspiration Adjustment Factor, January 25, 2008

Survey

In order to submit the report to the Legislature, the Office of Water Use Efficiency and Transfers conducted a survey of local agencies regarding their adoption and implementation of the 1990 Model Ordinance. The survey was sent to county and city planning departments and water conservation coordinators of local water suppliers. In addition OWUET asked a few questions regarding graywater in response to the AB 1881 recommendation: "facilitate the use of graywater".

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Rulemaking Process
In order for the state to adopt an updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (per the requirements of Statutes of 2006, AB 1881 Chapter 552), a rulemaking process is necessary. The Office of Administrative Law's (OAL) Administrative Procedures Act (Government Code Section 11340-11342.4) defines the rulemaking process (see "How to Participate section" below for details). DWR initiated the rulemaking process for the updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance in January 2008.

The rulemaking process ensures that the public will be informed of the updates of the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance before it takes effect. The public can comment and provide additional information to DWR. DWR will analyze and respond to the public comment. DWR will create a permanent record of its analysis and the rulemaking process.

Schedule
The tentative schedule for the rulemaking process is as follows:

February 8, 2008
DWR posted the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and released a draft of the updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.

March 2008
DWR hosted two public hearings on the draft of the updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance March 25, 2008 and March 27, 2008.

Spring/Summer 2008

  • DWR will summarize, analyze and respond to public comments.

Summer/Fall 2008

  • DWR released the Notice of Modifications to the Proposed Regulation. See below for more information.
  • DWR made modifications to the proposed Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance per staff recommendations, public comments, and follow ups. By law (Administrative Procedures Act Government Code 11340), DWR expects to have another public comment period in the near future on the modifications for the proposed regulation. Click here for additional information.
  • DWR will submit updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance and rulemaking package to Office of Administrative Law (OAL).
  • OAL will begin its 30 day review period on updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance and the DWR rulemaking package.
  • Upon OAL approval of the DWR rulemaking package, DWR will proceed with the adoption process of the updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.

January 2010
Local agencies, as required by law, will adopt updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance or one that is "at least as effective as".

To prepare a draft updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance for release to the public in February 2008. DWR initiated a process to engage interested stakeholders during 2007. DWR held meetings to receive comments from the stakeholders with expertise in the subject matters as described below.

Stakeholder Meetings
DWR initiated a stakeholder process and invited stakeholders on September 28, 2007. Stakeholders were assigned or grouped together based on their RSVP and expertise in the subject matters of Plants, Irrigation, and Compliance. Each group will have the opportunity to comment on sections of the updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance pertaining to the subject matter. DWR will consider input from each group in order to prepare an entire draft of the updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.

The Department held 12 public discussions or stakeholder meetings in 2007 and one informational meeting in 2008.

  • Jan. 11, 2007 - ETAF Technical Advisory Committee (Sac, CA)
  • Jan. 22, 2007 - ETAF Technical Advisory Committee (Sac, CA)
  • Aug. 7, 2007- ETAF Technical Advisory Committee (Sac, CA)
  • Oct.18, 2007 - ETAF Technical Advisory Committee (Sac, CA)
  • Oct. 30, 2007 - Stakeholder Meeting for Plant Group (Sac, CA)
  • Nov. 14, 2007 - Stakeholder Meeting for Irrigation Group (Sac, CA)
  • Nov. 15, 2007 - Stakeholder Meeting for Compliance Group (Sac, CA)
  • Dec. 11, 2007 -Irrigation Association Conference (San Diego, CA)
  • Dec. 12, 2007 - Stakeholder Meeting for All Groups (Sac, CA)
  • Dec. 12, 2007 -Turf and Landscape Institute Meeting (Riverside, CA)
  • Dec. 13, 2007 - Stakeholder Meeting for All Groups (Sac, CA)
  • Dec. 18, 2007 - ETAF Technical Advisory Committee (Sac, CA)
  • Jan. 28, 2008 - Final Stakeholder Meeting for All Groups (Sac, CA)

Additional informational meeting (Dec. 19, 2008)

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How to Participate

The public is encouraged to participate in the rulemaking process for the updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. For more information, please visit the Office of Administrative Law's website to retrieve the "How to Participate in the Rulemaking Process" document.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

As required by the Administrative Procedures Act, the documents for DWR's rulemaking process are provided below for the public:

If you need additional information, please send an e-mail to mweo@water.ca.gov.

Public Comments received from the 45-day (Feb/Mar 2008)

DWR's 45-day public comment period on the proposed Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance was held from February 8, 2008 to March 27, 2008. DWR received written comments as emails, letters, and faxes. Oral comments are from the public hearings in Sacramento and Chino and they are provided below as shorthand reporter transcripts. By clicking on the FTP link, you will be taken to a new webpage that displays two folders containing PDF files:

Per the Administrative Procedures Act (APA, Government Code Section 11346.8(a) and 11340.8(a)), the rulemaking agency (DWR) must consider all relevant material it receives during a noticed opportunity to comment before adopting or amending any regulation including comments received by fax and email. The APA permits the rulemaking agency to summarize and respond to comments; include late comments but they need not be summarized or responded to; aggregate or group duplicate comments; and there is no need to personally respond to a commenter but the Final Statement of Reasons shall contain a summary/response for all comments. In addition, DWR has provided an informal document, Comments by Section (PDF) hyperlink to PDF file with same name, that organizes most of the relevant material (public comments) by sections of the Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. This document is not considered to be part of the rulemaking record for the regulation.

Notice of Modifications to the Proposed Regulation (Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance) to California Code of Regulations, Title 23 Section 490-495 (34-Day Public Comment Period)

The State of California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is providing notice of the changes for incorporation into the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (Model Ordinance) (California Code of Regulations, Title 23 Section 490) per Chapter 559 Statutes of 2006 (Government Code, Section 65591), which were the subject of a written comment period and public hearings held on March 25 and 27, 2008. These changes are in response to comments received during the initial 45-day public comment period that began on February 8, 2008 and ended on March 27, 2008. In addition, DWR has prepared summaries and responses for key public comments to assist reviewers with understanding the reasons behind changes to the proposed regulation.

If you have comments on the Modified Text of Proposed Regulation, DWR will accept written comments between November 26, 2008 and December 30, 2008. Please limit comments to changes to the Modified Text of Proposed Regulation, where added text is displayed in italicized double underline and deleted text is displayed in double strikeout. All written comments must be submitted to DWR no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 30, 2008, and addressed to:

DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES
OFFICE OF WATER USE EFFICIENCY AND TRANSFERS
ATTN: SIMON ECHING
POST OFFICE BOX 942836
SACRAMENTO CA 94236-0001

Written comments may also be emailed to mweo@water.ca.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 30, 2008. Note that instead of having a 15-day comment period as required by the Administrative Procedures Act, this public comment period is 34 days.

Public Comments received from the 34-day (Nov/Dec 2008)
DWR's 34-day public comment period, which was an extended 15-day period, on the proposed Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance was held from November 26, 2008 to December 30, 2008. DWR received 70 written comments in the form of emails, correspondences and faxes. This FTP link will direct you to a new webpage that displays a folder containing PDF files of the public comments.

Final Regulation Text and Final Statement of Reasons
On February 9, 2009 DWR submitted its rulemaking action, including the
Final Regulation Text and the Final Statement of Reasons, to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) regarding the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. Per Administrative Procedures Act Government Code Section 11349.3, OAL has 30 working days (6 weeks) to review and approve DWR's rulemaking action.

Notice of 2nd 15-day comment period and Modified Text of the Regulation
Department of Water Resources is releasing a Notice of 15-Day Comment Period and Modified Text of the Proposed Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. As part of the rulemaking process, DWR will accept written public comments on the "Modified Text of the Proposed Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance" until May 26, 2009. The modification is in response to April 1, 2009, Office of Administrative Law's comments. DWR modified the regulation and clarified technical terms.

Public Comments received from the 2nd 15-day comment period (May 2009)
DWR's 2nd 15-day public comment period on the proposed Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance was held from May 11, 2009 to May 26, 2009. DWR received 30 written comments in the form of emails, correspondences and faxes. This FTP link will direct you to a new webpage that displays a folder containing PDF files of the public comments.

On July 29, 2009, Department of Water Resources resubmitted the Modified Text of the Proposed Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance and the Supplement to the Original Final Statement of Reason to the Office of Administrative Law for review.

If you need additional information, please send an e-mail to mweo@water.ca.gov.