Landscapes that utilize water-wise principles not only conserve water but help prevent runoff, provide a natural habitat for local wildlife, result in reduced maintenance costs, and contribute to the beauty of our urban landscapes. To ensure the efficient use of water for all San Francisco landscapes, projects with 500 square feet or more of new or modified landscape area are required to comply with the Water Efficient Irrigation Ordinance. Projects must design, install, and maintain efficient irrigation systems, utilize low water-use plantings, and set a Maximum Applied Water Allowance, also known as an annual water budget.
Do the requirements apply to me?
The requirements of the Water Efficient Irrigation Ordinance apply to owners of residential, commercial, municipal, and mixed-use properties with a new landscape construction project equal to or greater than 500 square feet or a modified landscape project equal to or greater than 1,000 square feet. The SFPUC provides technical assistance and free plan review to assure your project’s landscape and irrigation plans comply with the ordinance.
Water Efficient Landscape At a Glance
To reduce landscape water use through efficient irrigation design and low water-use plantings.
Who Must Comply?
All residential, commercial, municipal, and mixed-use projects installing or modifying 500 square feet or more of landscape area.
Administrative Code, Chapter 63
January 1, 2011
Read our fact sheet on complying with the requirements
Water Conservation Section
How do I comply?
- Determine if your project requires a Tier 1 or a Tier 2 application. Tier 1 projects have modified landscape areas between 1,000 – 2,500 square feet. Tier 2 projects are new landscape areas greater than 500 square feet or modified landscape areas greater than 2,500 square feet.
- Prior to the installation of the landscape, submit the appropriate Tier 1 or Tier 2 application and required documentation to the SFPUC Water Conservation Section for review and approval.
- Install your landscape in accordance with your approved application.
- Submit a Certificate of Completion to the SFPUC Water Conservation Section.
Check out our fact sheet on Complying with San Francisco's Landscape and Irrigation Requirements for more detailed information on the ordinance’s requirements.
If you have a specific question about your project’s Tier 1 or Tier 2 application, or any questions about the Water Efficient Irrigation Ordinance, please contact the SFPUC Water Conservation Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is this ordinance the same as the Green Landscaping Ordinance?
No, the Water Efficient Irrigation Ordinance is not the same as the Green Landscaping Ordinance. The Green Landscaping Ordinance is part of the San Francisco Planning Code and sets requirements for greening front setbacks of properties, screening and greening parking areas, and selecting and maintaining street trees. Read more about the Green Landscaping Ordinance.
These resources are available to help you comply with San Francisco's Water Efficient Irrigation Ordinance: