11. PROVIDE DIRECTION TO STAFF ON DEVELOPMENT OF BASELINE CONSERVATION REQUIREMENTS
Program/Line Item No.: NA
General Counsel Approval: NA
Committee Recommendation: NA
CEQA Compliance: NA
SUMMARY: On October 30, 2003, the Board directed staff to develop two conservation ordinances to expand the District’s baseline conservation requirements. One ordinance would establish baseline conservation measures for indoor water use, and the other would establish sustainable landscape regulations that embody baseline measures for outdoor water use. This direction came after consideration of the first reading of Ordinance No. 112, an ordinance that proposed a number of baseline conservation measures. The following information addresses development of outdoor water use baseline conservation requirements, as there was little time to address both
In September 1990, Governor Pete Wilson signed Assembly Bill 325 directing the Department of Water Resources to adopt a Model Local Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance by January 1, 1992 (Exhibit 11-A). An team of interested stakeholders such as landscape and construction industry professionals, members of environmental protection groups, water agencies and state and local government created a Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. By January 1993, local agencies were required to adopt a Local Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance, adopt the State Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance or make a statement that due to water availability and other factors an ordinance was not necessary. Cities and counties are required to enforce the ordinance as it applies to new and rehabilitated public and private landscapes that require a permit and on developer installed residential landscapes. The ordinance does not apply to landscapes under 2,500 square feet, homeowner-installed residential landscapes, cemeteries, registered historical sites and ecological restoration and mined reclamation areas without permanent irrigation systems.
Until now, District staff has left enforcement of the State’s landscape directive to the jurisdictions. However, as the majority of residential water use appears to be outdoor-related, it may now be timely for the District to work with the Cities and County to enforce the provisions of this law. This would also be an opportunity to address areas, such as homeowner-installed landscaping, that are not dealt with in the Model Landscape Ordinance.
The District’s current outdoor water conservation requirements are minimal: New construction is required to install drip irrigation “where appropriate.” The District relies on the jurisdictions to require and enforce water conservation standards. The District also debits outdoor water use for new construction using a fixture unit value of one-half the total interior fixture units. While this water use estimate appears to be appropriate for standard city lots, it underestimates the outdoor water needs for large residential lots. Draft Ordinance No. 111 includes a new factor for large lots utilizing the water budget for the landscaping to determine the appropriate deduction. As the concept of water budgeting is utilized in the new ordinance, it is also appropriate that it would be used in any new conservation standards.
RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends the Board provide direction to staff on development of an ordinance addressing baseline outdoor water use requirements. Staff should be directed to convene the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to resolve issues related to implementation and enforcement before the Board considers the ordinance.
In addition to revisiting the Model Local Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance, staff would like to work with the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to develop standards that could apply to landscapes that are not subject to the State ordinance. As the local jurisdictions have the land use authority, it is appropriate to have them as active participants in development of new water use regulations, particularly as the new requirements impact local permitting and enforcement functions. In addition, staff recommends working with California-American Water Company (Cal-Am) as a partner in this effort. As a party to the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Urban Water Conservation in California, Cal-Am is required to cooperate with the local jurisdictions to develop and implement landscape water conservation requirements (Best Management Practice 6). In fact, Cal-Am’s 2000-2005 Urban Water Management and Water Shortage Contingency Plan states: “The Company will continue to support MPWMD, the Cities and the County in their implementation of both locally developed and state mandated water conservation ordinances.”