Dear Public Official(s),
I write on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which is a nonprofit public interest organization with more than 3 million members and activists, more than 400,000 of whom are Californians. We are writing to advise you that, based on our review of reports filed with the Department of Water Resources (DWR), your city or county has failed to comply with state regulations requiring the submission of annual reports to DWR regarding your jurisdiction’s permit program for irrigated landscaping.
The Water Conservation in Landscaping Act, Gov’t Code §§65591-65599, requires all cities and counties in California to adopt and enforce either the state’s Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO), Cal. Code Regs. tit. 23 §490 et seq, or a local Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (WELO) that is at least as effective in conserving water as MWELO. See Gov’t Code §65597. Additionally, every city and county is required to file annual reports with DWR describing implementation and enforcement of either the MWELO or its WELO (as applicable). The requirements for these annual reports are set forth in Cal. Code Regs. tit. 23, §495(b)(1)-(12). DWR has sent letters reminding covered jurisdictions of these reporting requirements, including in November 2018 and June 2019.
NRDC has reviewed the reports that have been filed with DWR. This publicly available information (1) indicates that your city or county is out of compliance with the reporting requirements for one or more of the years 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. We urge you to prepare and submit complete and accurate reports to DWR regarding your jurisdiction’s landscaping permitting program. Please submit all missing reports to DWR by no later than Monday, December 9 through the department’s official email portal at <WELO@water.ca.gov>, and concurrently provide a copy of the completed report(s) to NRDC at the following email address: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Approximately half of California’s drinking water is used outdoors, most for irrigating urban landscapes. Complete and accurate information on landscape permitting is important for maintaining reliable water supplies and planning for future needs. It also permits interested members of the public and organizations like NRDC to evaluate the potential need for additional water-saving measures. We urge you to file all missing annual reports without further delay.
1 See https://water.ca.gov/Programs/Water-Use-And-Efficiency/Urban-Water-Use-Efficiency/Model-Water-Efficient-Landscape-Ordinance