AB 1881, SBX77, 20x2020, WELO… What does that alphabet soup really mean for me?

California’s economic prosperity and environmental quality are dependent on an adequate supply of water. In California, about half of the urban water used is for landscape irrigation. Ensuring efficient landscapes in new developments and reducing water waste in existing landscapes, are the most cost -effective ways to stretch our limited water supplies and ensure that we continue to have sufficient water for California to continue to prosper.

The Bad News:

Assembly Bill 1881 and SBX7 7 together required all local water agencies in California to adopt a Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (WELO) by January 1, 2010, and created a plan to reduce landscape water use 20% (per capita) by 2020.

Each local water agency has adopted a Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (WELO). The requirements vary by agency, but you can expect mandatory landscape water budgets and tiered pricing.  This, coupled with our ageing water infrastructure state-wide, means we expect water rates to increase significantly in the next few years.  For example, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) is increasing rates 9.75% in 2014 and an additional 9.5% in 2015, and the Placer County Water Agency (PWCA), traditionally one of the most inexpensive water agencies in Northern California, is raising their rates 9.1% in 2014 and another 3.75% in 2015.

The Good News

Cagwin & Dorward is here to help. We have over 25 California Landscape Contractor Association (CLCA) certified water managers on staff, and we can offer you solutions to reduce your landscape water use.

Our water managers can work with you to create a plan of action which could include everything from more efficient programming of your existing irrigation system, to system upgrades, to replacing plant material with more efficient, climate-appropriate choices.  Click here to read case studies, highlighting how we have saved some customers 20 – 69% on their landscape water costs.


California Landscape Contractors Association
California Department of Water Resources
Residential Water Efficiency Ideas
20x2020 State Water Resource Board