Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance

Santa Rosa Demonstration Garden, Photo by Julie Saare-Edmonds 2015

Drought-tolerant plants, mulch, and efficent-irrigation save water while offering habitat for pollinators. DWR/2015

About half of the urban water is used for landscape irrigation in California. Large water savings can be gained by efficient landscape design, installation, and maintenance. New development and retrofitted landscape water efficiency standards are governed by the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO). All agencies must adopt, implement, and enforce the MWELO or a more stringent ordinance.


In 2015, Executive Order B-29-15 (EO) tasked DWR with revising the 2010 updated MWELO to increase water efficiency standards for new and retrofitted landscapes through encouraging the use of more efficient irrigation systems, graywater usage, and onsite storm water capture, and by limiting the portion of landscapes that can be covered in turf. Updating the ordinance to incorporate these elements will help stretch our limited water supplies. The EO also required that agencies report on their implementation and enforcement of local ordinances by December 31, 2015.  DWR’s Water Use and Efficiency branch worked with several affected agencies, interested groups, and the public to prepare the current (2015) updated MWELO to improve landscape irrigation water savings in accordance with the EO.   


New for 2020:

Beginning with 2020 MWELO reports, DWR is using the WUEdata portal for submission of Local Agency annual MWELO Implementation reports. Setting Up Your WUEdata MWELO Reporting Account


WUEdata Portal


2015 - 2019 MWELO Report Assistance and Forms:

To submit 2015-2019 MWELO Reports to DWR, please download and fill the appropriate year’s Report Template below. Send it completed in Excel format to

To view and download previous submissions, please see MWELO Implementation Reports below.

Report Templates for Previous Reporting Years:

MWELO References


DWR is providing technical assistance to local land use agencies and applicants in the form of a Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) Guidebook. The MWELO Guidebook will provide background information, explain provisions of the regulation, and give guidance for enforcement to local agencies and applicants. The draft documents posted here are available for public comment and suggestions.

A public meeting was held on January 11, 2021 to introduce the draft MWELO Guidebook to stakeholders. See the MWELO Guidebook Presentation for more information. To make comments on the draft MWELO Guidebook, use the MWELO Guidebook Comment Form.

Draft MWELO Guidebook:

The Landscape Stakeholder Advisory Group (LSAG) was organized in December 2016 to provide a public forum for interested stakeholders in the landscape industry and public agency sector to provide input on landscape water use efficiency topics. The LSAG is open to all interested stakeholders. Currently members of LSAG include Landscape Architects, Landscape Designers, Landscape Contractors, Irrigation Consultants, irrigation equipment manufacturers, soil scientists, city and county staff, water suppliers, State agencies, educators, horticulturists, nursery growers and arborists. To join the LSAG, email In the subject line, write “Join LSAG”.

The meeting materials listed below are available upon request.

Contact Us

Phone: (916) 651-9676