Landscape Efficiency Standards
The State Department of Water Resources requires cities and counties in California to enforce a Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance or local ordinance that is at least as effective as the State's model ordinance in terms of achieving water savings. The City of Palo Alto integrated its outdoor water use efficiency guidelines into the adoption of the State Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen).
New construction and renovation projects that include landscaping must comply with State and City requirements for landscape water efficiency. Please refer to the City of Palo Alto's Development Services Division for the most current requirements of the Model Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance.
All applications other than single-family residences within the boundaries of a recycled water project area or which include a total landscape area greater than 1,500 square feet shall comply with the City of Palo Alto Ordinance No. 5002: Palo Alto Municipal Code Chapter 16.12.030: New construction; recycled water use for irrigation. Refer to Chapter 16.12 of the Palo Alto Municipal Code.
On June 12, 2008 the Palo Alto City Council adopted Ordinance No. 5002. This ordinance sets design standards for the use of recycled water for irrigation systems for non-residential construction projects. Non-residential landscape projects that must comply with the City of Palo Alto Landscape Water Efficiency requirements must also adhere to the recycled water guidelines. This ordinance includes the requirement for installation of a dedicated irrigation water meter and backflow prevention device. For more information on the recycled water requirements, view the Recycled Water Ordinance No. 5002.
In areas of Palo Alto that are served, or will be served, by recycled or reclaimed water, all PVC irrigation pipe and fittings shall be manufactured with purple coloring and be noted as intended for reclaimed water use. Lean more about recycled water.
Rebates and Workshops
The City of Palo Alto Utilities Department offers workshops and rebates to assist you in this effort.
- Rebate Information for Residents
- Rebate Information for Businesses
- Palo Alto workshops and training programs related to landscaping
- Landscape and new construction rebates for homeowners and businesses
- General information on water efficient landscapes
- Residential toolkit
- Residential landscapes
- Parks and commercial landscapes
- California invasive plant material list and recommendations
- Reference evapotranspiration information
- Irrigation controller information
- BayFriendly gardening practices
- BAWSCA’s Water Wise Gardening information
- Guides to pest control and more
- A helpful guide to free, fungally-dominated composting
- A homeowners guide to storm water runoff