I recently attended a workshop about the 2015 revisions to California’s Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (WELO) and it’s clear that water budgeting is getting stricter and irrigation efficiency requirements are getting higher.
The aim of changes to WELO: 1) conserve water by reducing turf and high water use plants; 2) make our irrigation systems more efficient; 3) increase on-site storm-water capture; 4) encourage graywater use; and, 5) require water efficiency reporting and ordinance enforcement by local agencies.
This revised ordinance goes into effect December 1, 2015 for local agencies and February 1, 2016 for local agencies developing a regional ordinance.
The threshold for residential, commercial, industrial and institutional landscapes covered by the ordinance has been decreased from 2,500 to 500 square feet of irrigated land. This square footage also includes swimming pools and water features. At this point the ordinance only applies to projects that require permits or plan checks by local municipalities.
Here are some of the new and improved requirements for landscape plans:
For irrigation plans there are even more changes:
This is a high level summary of what I learned from the presenters at this workshop who were from the California Department of Public Works, Bay Friendly Landscaping and Gardening Coalition, Marin Municipal Water District, Hunter Industries and the Urban Farmer Store. More to come.