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Water Efficient Landscape

purple wallflowerTo ensure the efficient use of water for all San Francisco landscapes, projects with 1,000 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. Landscapes with limited public access, such as freeway and roadway landscaping, should conserve our limited Hetch Hetchy water supply and instead use recycled water. Visit the Recycled Water Truck Fill Station page for more information.

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 construction or modified landscape project greater than or equal to 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 1,000 square feet or more landscape area.

Municipal Code
Administrative Code, Chapter 63

Effective Date
January 1, 2011

See our frequently asked questions.

Water Conservation Section
(415) 551-4730

How do I comply?

  1. Determine if your project requires a Tier 1 or a Tier 2 application using the How to Comply Flow Chart. Tier 1 projects are for landscape areas 1,000 – 2,500 square feet. Tier 2 projects are for landscape areas greater than 2,500 square feet.
  2. 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.
  3. Install your landscape in accordance with your approved application.
  4. Submit a Certificate of Completion to the SFPUC Water Conservation Section.

Tier 1
Tier 2
residential back yard
commercial lawn area

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.

Need help?

Check out our Guide to the San Francisco Water Efficient Irrigation Ordinance 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

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Last updated: 1/13/2016 11:22:07 AM