Residents and businesses in Palo Alto seeking permits that include new or upgraded landscaping are now required by the state Department of Water Resources (DWR) to meet the new water efficiency regulations, which went into effect on January 1, 2010.
The City of Palo Alto is working on a streamlined and easier to use local ordinance that will be as least as effective as the DWR model to update the City’s existing water efficient landscape ordinance, adopted in 1993. In April the proposed ordinance goes before the Utility Advisory Board. This local ordinance will include water efficiency measures for new or renovated residential landscapes in addition to the City’s existing commercial landscape regulations. In the interim, the DWR Model Ordinance is automatically in effect, and it will remain so unless and until the City Council approves an updated Palo Alto specific ordinance.
As of January 1, 2010, the DWR Model Ordinance requires each applicant who is installing new or upgrading current landscaping with more than 5000 sq ft of landscaping to submit a Water Efficient Landscape Worksheet with water budget calculations and information about hydrazones, or how much water each part of the yard needs. Final permit approval requires the submission of an irrigation schedule, a schedule of landscape and irrigation maintenance, a landscape irrigation audit report and a soil management report to the City.