The Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance, Chapter 16.16 of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code, was adopted to promote efficient water use in landscapes and to help manage water demand when water needs are the highest.
Landscape and irrigation plans meeting specific water conservation standards are required as part of the building plan application process for the following projects:
- New commercial, industrial, and public development projects requiring a building permit, land use approval, or new/modified water service,
- Existing developments required to relandscape as part of approval,
- Developer-installed residential landscaping equal to or greater than 2500 square feet,
- New single-family and two-unit residential developments (requirements dependent upon parcel size--please see ordinance for specific requirements,
- New recreation areas.
In accordance with new state standards, the City of Santa Cruz recently has updated its landscape ordinance. Applications for building permits submitted on or after July 8, 2010 will be subject to these updated requirements. Please call the Water Conservation Office at 831-420-5230 with any questions or requests for clarification.
A new requirement for most developments is the use of a weather-based irrigation controller. More information about these controllers can be found on the Weather-Based Irrigation Controller FAQ page.
To help guide your plans for a water efficient landscape, please refer to the current edition of the Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS).
Read a Summary of the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (updated in 2010).
Read the Entire Text of the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.