Landscape Permit Requirements

MPWMD Water Efficient Landscape Requirements (WELO)

Substantial water efficiency can be gained by proper landscape design, installation, and maintenance.  California’s first Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (WELO) was adopted in September 2009 and amended in July 2015.  As part of the District’s Water Permit process, staff routinely evaluates the Water Use Capacity of the landscape and verifies compliance with its requirements.  Beginning in 2016, the District began reporting region-wide compliance with WELO to the California Department of Water Resources.  As the regional water manager, MPWMD is the appropriate agency to implement the water efficient landscape requirements. Agencies such as MPWMD were directed to update their local/regional WELO, which MPWMD did by codifying Rule 142.1 in its Rules and Regulations in September 2016. MPWMD’s Rule 142.1 is more effective than the State’s MWELO.


Which Projects are Subject to MPWMD Water Efficient Landscape Requirements?

Rule 142.1 applies to new landscapes (including landscapes associated with a building demolition/rebuild) with an aggregate landscape area greater than 500 square-feet that are associated with any grading permit, building permit, or design approval (including such projects as lighting, decks, retaining walls, fences, etc.).  It also applies to refurbished landscapes (i.e., replacement of existing landscaping) greater than 2,500 square-feet that require a building or landscape permit, plan check, or design review.  Rule 142.1 focuses on water efficiency in plant selection, landscape design, and the irrigation system.

What are the Significant Revisions?

More Efficient Irrigation Systems

• Dedicated landscape water meters or submeters are required for residential landscapes over 5,000 sq. ft. and non-residential landscapes over 1,000 sq. ft.

• Irrigation systems are required to have pressure regulators and master shut-off valves.

• All irrigation emission devices must meet the national standard stated in Rule 142.1 to ensure that only high efficiency sprinklers are installed.

• Flow sensors that detect and report high flow conditions due to broken pipes and/or popped sprinkler heads are required for landscape areas greater than 5,000 sq. ft.

• The minimum width of areas that can be overhead irrigated was changed from 8 feet to 10 feet; areas less than 10 feet wide must be irrigated with subsurface drip or other technology that produces no over spray or runoff.

Incentives for Graywater Usage

Landscapes under 2,500 sq. ft. that are irrigated entirely with graywater or captured rainwater are subject only to efficient irrigation system requirements.

Landscape Documentation Package Submittal Requirements:

Approval of a complete landscape package is required prior to construction of any landscape. Submittal requirements are summarized below. MPWMD’s Landscape Documentation Package can be found here.

  • Water Efficient Landscape Worksheet
  • Soil Management Report
  • Landscape Design Plan
  • Irrigation Design Plan
  • Prescriptive Compliance Option (Minor Landscape Package) is available to specific projects
    • Project with an aggregate landscape area of 2,500 square feet or less
    • Projects using graywater or rainwater captured on site: Any lot or parcel within the project that has less than 2,500 sq. ft. of landscape and meets the lot or parcel’s landscape water requirement (Estimated Total Water Use) entirely with treated or untreated graywater or through stored rainwater captured on site is subject only to Certificate of Completion Package:  At the completion of the project, a Certificate of Completion Package is required.

Certificate of Completion Package Submittal Requirements:

For new construction and rehabilitate landscape projects installed after December 1, 2015, the following documents must be provided to the owner and to MPWMD upon completion of the landscape project:

  • Certificate of Completion.  This form is completed and signed by property owner.
  • Certificate of Installation.  This form is completed and signed by the signer of the landscape design plan, the irrigation design plan, or a licensed landscape contractor.  Certification shall be based on periodic observation of the installation.
    • Irrigation audit report;
    • Controller parameters/settings;
    • Landscape irrigation audit report;
    • Soil analysis report and documentation verifying implementation of recommendations from soil analysis (if not using the Prescriptive Compliance Option).


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