CHAPTER 31
WATER-EFFICIENT LANDSCAPE REQUIREMENTS

4.31.102 Findings.

The City Council hereby finds that this chapter will allow the City to promote the values and benefits of landscapes while recognizing the need to use water and other resources as efficiently as possible; establish a structure for planning, designing, installing, maintaining and managing water-efficient landscapes in new construction and rehabilitated projects; establish provisions for water management practices and water waste prevention for existing landscapes; and to use water efficiently without waste by setting a maximum applied water allowance as an upper limit for water use and reduce water use to the lowest practical amount. This chapter is consistent with the goals and policies of the General Plan, in that the regulations will encourage water conservation in new and rehabilitated projects.

(Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 03-10, adopted February 9, 2010)

4.31.104 Applicability.

a.    This chapter shall apply to all of the following landscape projects:

1)    New construction and rehabilitated landscapes for public agency projects and private development projects with a landscape area equal to or greater than two thousand five hundred (2,500) square feet requiring a building or landscape permit, plan check or design review;

2)    New construction and rehabilitated landscapes which are developer-installed in single-family and multifamily projects with a landscape area equal to or greater than two thousand five hundred (2,500) square feet requiring a building or landscape permit, plan check, or design review;

3)    New construction landscapes which are homeowner-provided and/or homeowner-hired in single-family and multifamily residential projects with a total project landscape area equal to or greater than five thousand (5,000) square feet requiring a building or landscape permit, plan check or design review;

4)    Existing landscapes limited to Section 4.31.110; and

5)    Cemeteries. Recognizing the special landscape management needs of cemeteries, new and rehabilitated cemeteries are limited to Section 4.31.108; and existing cemeteries are limited to Section 4.31.110; and

b.    This chapter does not apply to:

1)    Registered local, State or Federal historical sites;

2)    Ecological restoration projects that do not require a permanent irrigation system;

3)    Mined-land reclamation projects that do not require a permanent irrigation system; or

4)    Plant collections, as part of botanical gardens and arboretums open to the public.

(Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 03-10, adopted February 9, 2010)

4.31.106 Definitions.

a.    The terms used in this chapter have the meanings set forth below:

1)    "Applied water" means the portion of water supplied by the irrigation system to the landscape.

2)    "Automatic irrigation controller" means an automatic timing device used to remotely control valves that operate an irrigation system. Automatic irrigation controllers schedule irrigation events using either evapotranspiration (weather-based) or soil moisture data.

3)    "Backflow prevention device" means a safety device used to prevent pollution or contamination of the water supply due to the reverse flow of water from the irrigation system.

4)    "Certificate of completion" means the document required under Section 4.31.108.

5)    "Certified irrigation designer" means a person certified to design irrigation systems by an accredited academic institution, a professional trade organization or other program such as the US Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense irrigation designer certification program and Irrigation Association’s certified irrigation designer program.

6)    "Certified landscape irrigation auditor" means a person certified to perform landscape irrigation audits by an accredited academic institution, a professional trade organization or other program such as the US Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense irrigation auditor certification program and Irrigation Association’s certified landscape irrigation auditor program.

7)    "Check valve" or "anti-drain valve" means a valve located under a sprinkler head, or other location in the irrigation system, to hold water in the system to prevent drainage from sprinkler heads when the sprinkler is off.

8)    "City" means the City of Oakley.

9)    "Common interest developments" means community apartment projects, condominium projects, planned developments, and stock cooperatives per Civil Code Section 1351.

10)    "Conversion factor (0.62)" means the number that converts acre-inches per acre per year to gallons per square foot per year.

11)    "Drip irrigation" means any nonspray low volume irrigation system utilizing emission devices with a flow rate measured in gallons per hour. Low volume irrigation systems are specifically designed to apply small volumes of water slowly at or near the root zone of plants.

12)    "Ecological restoration project" means a project where the site is intentionally altered to establish a defined, indigenous, historic ecosystem.

13)    "Emitter" means a drip irrigation emission device that delivers water slowly from the system to the soil.

14)    "Established landscape" means the point at which plants in the landscape have developed significant root growth into the soil. Typically, most plants are established after one or two years of growth.

15)    "Establishment period of the plants" means the first year after installing the plant in the landscape or the first two years if irrigation will be terminated after establishment. Typically, most plants are established after one or two years of growth.

16)    "ET adjustment factor (ETAF)" means a factor of 0.7 that, when applied to reference evapotranspiration, adjusts for plant factors and irrigation efficiency, two major influences upon the amount of water that needs to be applied to the landscape. A combined plant mix with a site-wide average of 0.5 is the basis of the plant factor portion of this calculation. For purposes of the ETAF, the average irrigation efficiency is 0.71. Therefore, the ET adjustment factor is (0.7)=(0.5/0.71). ETAF for a special landscape area shall not exceed 1.0. ETAF for existing nonrehabilitated landscapes is 0.8.

17)    "Evapotranspiration rate" means the quantity of water evaporated from adjacent soil and other surfaces and transpired by plants during a specified time.

18)    "Flow rate" means the rate at which water flows through pipes, valves and emission devices, measured in gallons per minute, gallons per hour, or cubic feet per second.

19)    "Hardscapes" means any durable material (pervious and nonpervious).

20)    "Homeowner-provided landscaping" means any landscaping either installed by a private individual for a single-family residence or installed by a licensed contractor hired by a homeowner. A "homeowner," for purposes of this chapter, is a person who occupies the dwelling he or she owns. This excludes speculative homes, which are not owner-occupied dwellings.

21)    "Hydrozone" means a portion of the landscaped area having plants with similar water needs. A hydrozone may be irrigated or nonirrigated.

22)    "Infiltration rate" means the rate of water entry into the soil expressed as a depth of water per unit of time (e.g., inches per hour).

23)    "Invasive plant species" means species of plants not historically found in California that spread outside cultivated areas and can damage environmental or economic resources. Invasive species may be regulated by county agricultural agencies as noxious species.

24)    "Noxious weeds" means any weed designated by the Weed Control Regulations in the Weed Control Act and identified on a regional district noxious weed control list. Lists of invasive plants are maintained at the California Invasive Plant Inventory and USDA invasive and noxious weeds database.

25)    "Irrigation audit" means an in-depth evaluation of the performance of an irrigation system conducted by a certified landscape irrigation auditor. An irrigation audit includes, but is not limited to: inspection, system tune-up, system test with distribution uniformity or emission uniformity, reporting overspray or runoff that causes overland flow, and preparation of an irrigation schedule.

26)    "Irrigation efficiency (IE)" means the measurement of the amount of water beneficially used divided by the amount of water applied. Irrigation efficiency is derived from measurements and estimates of irrigation system characteristics and management practices. The minimum average irrigation efficiency for purposes of this chapter is 0.71. Greater irrigation efficiency can be expected from well designed and maintained systems.

27)    "Irrigation survey" means an evaluation of an irrigation system that is less detailed than an irrigation audit. An irrigation survey includes, but is not limited to: inspection, system test, and written recommendations to improve performance of the irrigation system.

28)    "Irrigation water use analysis" means an analysis of water use data based on meter readings and billing data.

29)    "Landscape architect" means a person who holds a license to practice landscape architecture in the State of California, Business and Professions Code Section 5615.

30)    "Landscape area" means all the planting areas, turf areas, and water features in a landscape design plan subject to the maximum applied water allowance calculation. The landscape area does not include footprints of buildings or structures, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, decks, patios, gravel or stone walks, other pervious or nonpervious hardscapes, and other nonirrigated areas designated for nondevelopment (e.g., open spaces and existing native vegetation).

31)    "Landscape contractor" means a person licensed by the State of California to construct, maintain, repair, install, or subcontract the development of landscape systems.

32)    "Landscape documentation package" means the documents required under Section 4.31.108.

33)    "Landscape guidelines" means the guidelines for implementation of the City of Oakley Water Efficient Landscape Guidelines.

34)    "Landscape project" means total area of landscape in a project as defined in subsection (a)(30) of this section for the purposes of this chapter, meeting requirements under Section 4.31.104.

35)    "Lateral line" means the water delivery pipeline that supplies water to the emitters or sprinklers from the valve.

36)    "Local agency" means a city or county, including a charter city or charter county, that is responsible for adopting and implementing this chapter. The local agency is also responsible for the enforcement of this chapter, including but not limited to approval of a permit and plan check or design review of a project.

37)    "Local water purveyor" means any entity, including a public agency, city, county, or private water company, that provides retail water service.

38)    "Low volume irrigation" means the application of irrigation water at low pressure through a system of tubing or lateral lines and low volume emitters such as drip, drip lines, and bubblers. Low volume irrigation systems are specifically designed to apply small volumes of water slowly at or near the root zone of plants.

39)    "Main line" means the pressurized pipeline that delivers water from the water source to the valve or outlet.

40)    "Maximum applied water allowance" (MAWA) means the upper limit of annual applied water for the established landscaped area as specified in Section 3.B of the guidelines for implementation of this chapter. It is based upon the area’s reference evapotranspiration, the ET adjustment factor, and the size of the landscape area. The estimated total water use shall not exceed the maximum applied water allowance. Special landscape areas, including recreation areas, areas permanently and solely dedicated to edible plants such as orchards and vegetable gardens, and areas irrigated with recycled water are subject to the MAWA with an ETAF not to exceed 1.0.

41)    "Microclimate" means the climate of a small, specific area that may contrast with the climate of the overall landscape area due to factors such as wind, sun exposure, plant density, or proximity to reflective surfaces.

42)    "Mined-land reclamation projects" means any surface mining operation with a reclamation plan approved in accordance with the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975.

43)    "Mulch" means any organic material such as leaves, bark, straw, compost, or inorganic mineral materials such as rocks, gravel, and decomposed granite left loose and applied to the soil surface for the beneficial purposes of reducing evaporation, suppressing weeds, moderating soil temperature, and preventing soil erosion.

44)    "New construction" means, for the purposes of this chapter, a new building with a landscape or other new landscape, such as a park, playground, or greenbelt without an associated building.

45)    "Operating pressure" means the pressure at which the parts of an irrigation system are designed by the manufacturer to operate.

46)    "Overhead sprinkler irrigation systems" means systems that deliver water through the air (e.g., spray heads and rotors).

47)    "Overspray" means the irrigation water which is delivered beyond the target area.

48)    "Permit" means an authorizing document issued by local agencies for new construction or rehabilitated landscapes.

49)    "Pervious" means any surface or material that allows the passage of water through the material and into the underlying soil.

50)    "Plant factor" or "plant water use factor" is a factor, when multiplied by ETo, estimates the amount of water needed by plants. For purposes of this chapter, the plant factor range for low water use plants is zero to 0.3, the plant factor range for moderate water use plants is 0.4 to 0.6, and the plant factor range for high water use plants is 0.7 to 1.0. Plant factors cited in this chapter are derived from the Department of Water Resources’ 2000 publication "Water Use Classification of Landscape Species."

51)    "Precipitation rate" means the rate of application of water measured in inches per hour.

52)    "Project applicant" means the individual or entity submitting a landscape documentation package required under Section 3 of the landscape guidelines, to request a permit, plan check, or design review from the local agency. A project applicant may be the property owner or his or her designee.

53)    "Rain sensor" or "rain sensing shutoff device" means a component which automatically suspends an irrigation event when it rains.

54)    "Record drawing" or "as-builts" means a set of reproducible drawings which show significant changes in the work made during construction and which are usually based on drawings marked up in the field and other data furnished by the contractor.

55)    "Recreational area" means areas dedicated to active play such as parks, sports fields, and golf courses where turf provides a playing surface.

56)    "Recycled water," "reclaimed water," or "treated sewage effluent water" means treated or recycled waste water of a quality suitable for nonpotable uses such as landscape irrigation and water features. This water is not intended for human consumption.

57)    "Reference evapotranspiration" or "ETo" means a standard measurement of environmental parameters which affect the water use of plants. ETo is expressed in inches per day, month, or year as represented in Appendix A, and is an estimate of the evapotranspiration of a large field of four- to seven-inch-tall, cool-season grass that is well watered. Reference evapotranspiration is used as the basis of determining the maximum applied water allowance so that regional differences in climate can be accommodated.

58)    "Rehabilitated landscape" means any re-landscaping project that requires a permit, plan check, or design review, meets the requirements of Section 4.31.104, and the modified landscape area is equal to or greater than two thousand five hundred (2,500) square feet, is fifty percent (50%) of the total landscape area, and the modifications are completed within one year.

59)    "Runoff" means water which is not absorbed by the soil or landscape to which it is applied and flows from the landscape area. For example, runoff may result from water that is applied at too great a rate (application rate exceeds infiltration rate) or when there is a slope.

60)    "Soil moisture sensing device" or "soil moisture sensor" means a device that measures the amount of water in the soil. The device may also suspend or initiate an irrigation event.

61)    "Soil texture" means the classification of soil based on its percentage of sand, silt, and clay.

62)    "Special landscape area (SLA)" means an area of the landscape dedicated solely to edible plants, areas irrigated with recycled water, water features using recycled water and areas dedicated to active play such as parks, sports fields, golf courses, and where turf provides a playing surface.

63)    "Sprinkler head" means a device which delivers water through a nozzle.

64)    "Static water pressure" means the pipeline or municipal water supply pressure when water is not flowing.

65)    "Station" means an area served by one valve or by a set of valves that operate simultaneously.

66)    "Swing joint" means an irrigation component that provides a flexible, leak-free connection between the emission device and lateral pipeline to allow movement in any direction and to prevent equipment damage.

67)    "Turf" means a ground cover surface of mowed grass. Annual bluegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial rye grass, red fescue, and tall fescue are cool-season grasses. Bermuda grass, Kikuyu grass, seashore paspalum, St. Augustine grass, zoysia grass, and buffalo grass are warm-season grasses.

68)    "Valve" means a device used to control the flow of water in the irrigation system.

69)    "Water conserving plant species" means a plant species identified as having a low plant factor.

70)    "Water feature" means a design element where open water performs an aesthetic or recreational function. Water features include ponds, lakes, waterfalls, fountains, artificial streams, spas, and swimming pools (where water is artificially supplied). The surface area of water features is included in the high water use hydrozone of the landscape area. Constructed wetlands used for on-site wastewater treatment or stormwater best management practices that are not irrigated and used solely for water treatment or stormwater retention are not water features and, therefore, are not subject to the water budget calculation.

71)    "Watering window" means the time of day irrigation is allowed.

72)    "WUCOLS" means the "Water Use Classification of Landscape Species" published by the University of California Cooperative Extension, the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation, 2000.

(Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 03-10, adopted February 9, 2010)

4.31.108 Provisions for New Construction or Rehabilitated Landscapes.

a.    The City may designate another agency, such as a water purveyor, to implement some or all of the requirements contained in this chapter. The City may collaborate with water purveyors to define each entity’s specific responsibilities relating to this chapter.

b.    The landscape documentation package shall be submitted by the project applicant to the City for review and approval with appropriate water use calculations. Water use calculations shall be consistent with calculations contained in the landscape guidelines and shall be provided to the local water purveyors as appropriate, under procedures determined by the City. Submittal requirements for a landscape documentation package include the water-efficient landscape worksheet, soil management report, landscape design plan, irrigation design plan, and grading design plan, if applicable. Further information on the landscape documentation package can be found in the landscape guidelines.

c.    A certificate of completion package and supporting documentation as specified in the landscape guidelines shall be submitted by the project applicant to the City for review and copy of the approved certificate of completion shall be provided to the local water purveyor. The City shall approve or deny the certificate of completion prior to final inspection and permit closure. If the certificate of completion is denied, the City shall provide information to the project applicant regarding reapplication, appeal, or other assistance. Submittal requirements for the certificate of completion package include the certificate of completion, irrigation schedule, landscape and irrigation maintenance schedule, irrigation survey, and as-built drawings, if applicable. Further information on the certificate of completion package can be found in the landscape guidelines.

(Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 03-10, adopted February 9, 2010)

4.31.110 Provisions for Existing Landscapes.

a.    The City may designate another agency, such as a water purveyor, to implement some or all of the requirements contained in this chapter. Local agencies may collaborate with water purveyors to define each entity’s specific responsibilities relating to this chapter.

b.    Irrigation Audit, Irrigation Survey, and Irrigation Water Use Analysis. This subsection (b) shall apply to all existing landscapes that were installed before January 1, 2010, and are over one acre in size.

1)    For all landscapes in this subsection (b) that have a water meter, the City shall administer programs that may include, but not be limited to, irrigation water use analyses, irrigation surveys, and irrigation audits to evaluate water use and provide recommendations as necessary to reduce landscape water use to a level that does not exceed the maximum applied water allowance for existing landscapes. The maximum applied water allowance for existing landscapes shall be calculated as: MAWA = (0.8)(ETo)(LA)(0.62). The local water purveyor may require a lower ETAF for calculating the MAWA of existing landscapes. The stricter of the two ETAF requirements shall be used in the MAWA calculation.

2)    For all landscapes in this subsection (b) that do not have a meter, the City shall administer programs that may include, but not be limited to, irrigation surveys and irrigation audits to evaluate water use and provide recommendations as necessary in order to prevent water waste.

c.    All landscape irrigation audits shall be conducted by a certified landscape irrigation auditor.

(Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 03-10, adopted February 9, 2010)

4.31.112 Recycled Water.

a.    The installation of recycled water irrigation systems shall allow for the current and future use of recycled water, unless a written exemption has been granted as described in subsection (b) of this section.

b.    Irrigation systems and decorative water features shall use recycled water unless a written exemption has been granted by the local sanitary district stating that recycled water meeting all public health codes and standards is not available and will not be available within a specified time period.

c.    All recycled water irrigation systems shall be designed and operated in accordance with all applicable local and State laws.

d.    Landscapes using recycled water are considered special landscape areas. The ET adjustment factor for special landscape areas shall not exceed 1.0.

(Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 03-10, adopted February 9, 2010)

4.31.114 Stormwater Management.

a.    Stormwater management practices minimize runoff and increase infiltration which recharges groundwater and improves water quality. Implementing stormwater best management practices into the landscape and grading design plans to minimize runoff and to increase on-site retention and infiltration are encouraged.

b.    Project applicants shall refer to the local agency or Regional Water Quality Control Board for information on any applicable stormwater ordinances and stormwater management plans.

c.    Rain gardens, cisterns, and other landscape features and practices that increase rainwater capture and create opportunities for infiltration and/or on-site storage are recommended.

d.    Appropriate stormwater best management practices (BMPs) shall be used during the installation of landscape and irrigation projects.

(Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 03-10, adopted February 9, 2010)

4.31.116 Guidelines.

The Director of Community Development may, from time to time, promulgate guidelines for the implementation of this chapter. Such guidelines shall be persuasive, but not binding, upon determinations made in the implementation of this chapter. In the event of any disagreement between Community Development staff and the project proponent regarding the interpretation or intent of the guidelines may be referred to the City Manager, and ultimately to the City Council, for final resolution.

(Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 03-10, adopted February 9, 2010)