News & Resources

Emergency Water Regulations Apply to Landscaping Design

Aug 31, 2015 | Legal Developments and News

Anticipated to begin in October 2015, new school and community college district construction projects will be subject to the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO).  MWELO will apply to planning, designing, installing, maintaining and managing water efficient landscapes in new construction and rehabilitation projects, but not modernization projects.

Under the new regulations, all new construction and building additions of 1,000 square feet or more must include landscape rehabilitation projects on an area equal to 75% of the project’s footprint (down from 100%).  Landscaping areas of 2,500 square feet or more must meet MWELO’s water efficiency requirements with a reduced Evapotranspiration Adjustment Factor of 0.65 and additional allowance for Special Landscape Areas.  For landscaping areas that are between 1,000 and 2,499 square feet, districts must comply with MWELO regulations regarding more efficient irrigation systems.  Districts may rehabilitate existing landscape to meet this requirement.  If the area already complies with MWELO requirements, no additional work is required.

The design professional must self-certify that the design and construction comply with the MWELO requirements.  The filing fee for self-certification verification is $500.

Although MWELO’s additional water efficiency requirements will undoubtedly impact the costs of construction, the degree of this impact is not currently known.

If you have any questions, please contact a DWK attorney.

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