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Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance

A new Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance was adopted on December 15, 2009, and went into effect on January 15, 2010. The new ordinance requires a landscape plan check for certain projects, as described in the ordinance. It includes requirements for landscape water budgets, landscape and irrigation design, and irrigation scheduling. The ordinance is located in Section 7D3 of the Sonoma County Code (Building Regulations) and supersedes the existing Low Water Use Landscaping Ordinance located in Zoning Code Section 26-88-110. Both public water users and ground water users are subject to the ordinance.


The State Legislature adopted the "Water Conservation in Landscaping Act of 2006" (AB 1881) requiring the Department of Water Resources to update the State Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. All local land use agencies are required to adopt the model ordinance, or develop an ordinance that is at least as effective by January 1, 2010. PRMD worked collaboratively with a stakeholder group comprised of landscape professionals and representatives from local agencies to develop the ordinance.

Water Efficient Landscape Resources

Maximum Applied Water Allowance (MAWA) Worksheet Excel File

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper Course

Sonoma County Rainfall Map

Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS) Acrobat Document

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Although every effort is made to provide complete and accurate information on this website, users are advised to contact appropriate PRMD staff before making project decisions. This may involve contacting more than one section within PRMD (e.g. Building, Plan Check, Zoning, Well & Septic, etc.), since each section implements specific codes or ordinances which may affect your project.
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Permit and Resource Management Department County of Sonoma