Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO)


CA Department of Water Resources created this statewide conservation law model in 1993 for minimum water-efficiency standards in landscape design, construction, management and maintenance for new and applicable renovated landscapes.  

The purpose of the MWELO is to promote the values and benefits of landscaping practices that integrate conservation and efficient use of water. The MWELO establishes a structure for planning, designing, installing, maintaining and managing water efficient landscapes in new construction and rehabilitated projects.   

Projects Requiring Compliance: Any single-family or multi-family residential, public, institutional, or commercial project that requires a building permit, plan review, or design review AND meets one of the total landscape area size thresholds (new construction 500 sq ft. or rehabilitation of existing landscape greater than 2,500 sq ft) needs to comply. 

Prior to Construction


During Construction


Completing the Project   

Resources and Information

1) Apply for a building permit in the Permit Center

2) Upload the following documents to
application attachments based on
compliance pathway.
Prescriptive Landscape Projects
New or Renovations with Total Landscape
Area: 500-2,500 SQ FT
-Landscape Design Plans


Performance Landscape Projects
New Construction with Total Landscape Area of 500 SQ FT or More
Renovations with Total Landscape Area 2,500 Sq Ft or More
-Hydrozone Plan
-Grading Design Plan
-Irrigation Design Plan
-Landscape Design Plans
-Soil Management Report from accredited soils lab
(if significant mass grading is planned,
 submit after construction)
Call for inspections accordingly.   
 Prescriptive Landscape Projects
-Request landscape inspection 10 days in advance to


Performance Landscape Projects
-Request landscape inspection 10 days in advance to


-Request irrigation inspection 10 days in advance to
 Upload the following documents to permit attachments.
 Upload the following documents to permit attachments based on compliance pathway.
Prescriptive Landscape Projects
Construct the landscape according
to the approved plans.
-Landscape and Irrigation Maintenance Schedule


Performance Landscape Projects

-Landscape and Irrigation Maintenance Schedule
-Soil Management Report
-Verification of Soil Report Recommendation and Implementation


 MWELO Ordinance DWR Ordinance

Soil, Compost, Mulch