Water-efficient landscaping ordinance

The water-efficient landscaping ordinance (WELO) applies to all new landscapes exceeding 500 square feet and rehabilitated landscapes exceeding 1,000 square feet associated with projects requiring city review and approval. Refer to the flowchart checklist for a general representation of WELO requirements.

How to comply in four steps
Water efficient landscaping

Step one: Hire a licensed professional 

The property owner can hire any one of the following professionals to complete and submit the required documentation:
  • Certified irrigation designer or auditor
  • Licensed landscape architect or contractor
  • Other person authorized by the State of California to design a landscape or an irrigation system

Step two: Decide which option to use 

  1. Prescriptive compliance option
    There are three types of prescriptive compliance methods based on the project prerequisites below:
    • Prescriptive A (for residential projects impacting ≤2,500 sf of landscape)
      • Total turf must be 25% or less of total disturbed landscape area
      • Remaining 75% of proposed planting must be of low water species (average WUCOLS* 0.3)
    • Prescriptive B (for commercial projects and HOAs impacting ≤2,500 sf of landscape)
      • No turf AND 100% of planting must be of low water usage (average WUCOLS* 0.3)
    • Prescriptive C (for all projects impacting >2,500 sf of landscape)
      • No turf AND 80% of planting must be of low water usage/low WUCOLS*
  2. Water budget option
    Using this method allows additional flexibility as long as the applicant does not exceed their allowable water budget that is measured in gallons. Calculations must demonstrate that the landscape stays within a maximum applied water allowance.

    Please choose one of the following below based on project type:

Step three: Submit the following documents
(required before permit issuance) 

  • Landscape application checklist
  • Landscape Plan with the following at a minimum:
    • Proposed planting by species, hydro-zone and Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS).
    • Identification of all landscape areas, special landscape, and impervious areas.
    • The following compliance statement: "I have complied with the criteria of the water efficiency landscape ordinance and applied them accordingly for the efficient use of water in the landscape and irrigation design plan."
  • Irrigation plan including irrigation routing, location of meters and backflow devices.
  • Water Budget Calculation Worksheet  (if Water Budget compliance option is selected).
  • A  non-refundable fee (see the City's master fee schedule) will be collected at the issuance of the permit

Step four: Post construction 

Submit a both of the following documents from a licensed professional: