The California Building Standards Commission will meet on May 29th to adopt emergency building standards to significantly reduce the amount of potable water that can be used for outside landscaping irrigation purposes. 

These emergency building standards will apply to new residential and commercial building construction for which the initial permit application is submitted to the local building department on or after June 1, 2015.   This emergency action was prompted by the Governor’s recent Executive Order on the drought emergency and subsequent rules issued by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Among other things, the emergency building standards will require the calculation of a water budget for the site using a modified version of the Department of Water Resources’ Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO).  This is the water budget calculation tool that has been required in most local jurisdictions for the past five years.

The modified tool results in a 20%-25% reduction in landscape water consumption.

Although we are still seeking advice and comment from our membership on detail, we are working with the Governor and BSC and have let it be known that our industry is generally supportive of these changes.

A copy of the emergency standards can be found by Clicking here.

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