State Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance Goes Into Effect Jan. 1, 2010

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In 1992, the State of California Department of Water Resources (DWR) adopted a water-efficient landscape ordinance, which was established as a voluntary model for application by local municipal and special-district water agencies (Assembly Bill AB 235). The City of Redding opted not to adopt such an ordinance and made findings, based on climatic and topographical conditions and water availability, that a water-efficient landscape ordinance was unnecessary. While the City chose not to adopt such a specific ordinance, Chapter 16.60, Landscape, of the Redding Municipal Code, adopted in 1999, and the City's Landscape Plan Guidelines subsequently adopted by the Planning Commission, contain provisions directed at efficient use of irrigation water.

Mandatory Water Conservation for Landscape - Assembly Bill AB 1881

In 2006, the state enacted legislation requiring the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to update the State Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance and to make it mandatory that every local agency adopt the model ordinance or develop an ordinance that is at least as effective as the state model. The purpose of this directive is to strengthen statewide water-conservation efforts in landscape design. In September 2009, the state model ordinance was approved by the State Office of Administrative Law. The updated model ordinance contains several new landscape- and irrigation-design requirements aimed at reducing water consumption and waste in landscape irrigation.

In response, City staff representatives from Development Services and Municipal Utilities Departments have drafted a City of Redding Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance that is based on the DWR model ordinance and meets AB 1881 requirements. The draft City ordinance essentially reiterates the requirements and standards of the state model and does not go beyond the state's directions.

The purposes of the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance are to:

• Meet the requirements of state law relative to installation and replacement of landscape and mandated waterconservation measures.

• Promote the values and benefits of landscape, while recognizing the need to invest water and other resources as efficiently as possible.

• Ensure the attainment of water-efficient landscape goals by limiting water demand in new landscape.

• Retain flexibility and encourage creativity through appropriate design.

• Establish a structure for the design, installation, and maintenance of water-efficient landscapes in new projects.

• Establish provisions for water-management practices and water-waste prevention for established landscapes.

• Establish the City’s responsibilities for administrating programs to ensure compliance with the provisions for the chapter and with the California Water Conservation in Landscaping Act of 2006.

• Establish provisions for water-management programs that may include, but are not limited to: irrigation water-use analyses, irrigation audits, and irrigation surveys for compliance with the Maximum Applied Water Allowance.

• Achieve water conservation by raising public awareness of the need for an effective management program through education and incentives.

Generally, the provisions of the ordinance will apply to:

• New construction and rehabilitated landscapes for public-agency and private commercial/ industrial projects with a cumulative landscaped area of 2,500 square feet or more.

• New construction and rehabilitated landscapes which are developer-installed in single-family and multiple-family projects with a cumulative landscape area of 2,500 square feet or more.

Landscapes over one acre in size, installed prior to January 1, 2010, are subject to certain wateruse- audit provisions of the ordinance.

For more information, see the following websites:

Source: City of Redding's The Latest Develpments