Landscaping Regulations

The DWP abides by the State of California Model Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance

  • New landscapes between 500 and 2500 sq. ft follow the prescriptive compliance approach.
  • New landscapes exceeding 2500 sq. ft follow the performance compliance approach. 
  • Existing landscapes over 2,500 that are being rehabilitated, or ANY rehabilitated landscape plan that includes turf are subject to review.
  • Please be aware that landscape areas that exceed 5,000 sq. ft have additional restrictions. 

In addition, our local landscaping regulations are designed to maximize water-use efficiency and eliminate water waste. We strive to accomplish these goals through the following:

  • Promoting water-efficient landscaping by using Xeriscape principles and planting native plants.
  • Educating homeowners, business owners, and developers on how to create a beautiful, water-efficient, and drought-tolerant landscapes.
  • Ensuring that plants receive the right amount of water (not too much and not too little!).
  • Eliminating water waste through automatic irrigation controllers with weather-based sensors, drip irrigation, or bubblers.
  • Planning for the long term with proper preparation, irrigation, and maintenance.

Here is a list of some of the landscape regulations that are in place for all Bear Valley residents, whether you are a full-time resident, part-timer, or a visitor.

  • Landscape plans must be submitted and approved by the Department of Water and Power (DWP) prior to the installation of any turf or if new or retrofitted landscapes are greater than 500 square feet. Please contact the Conservation Department for details.
  • Landscape elements must be appropriately maintained to maximize water-use efficiency.
  • High water use plants, including turf (grass) installations, shall be limited to no more than 25% of the landscaped area or 1,000 square feet, whichever is less. 
  • Weather based irrigation controllers are required on all landscapes that include turf or high water use plants. The controllers must have the ability to accommodate all time and date restrictions employed by the DWP and must be equipped with rain shut-off or soil moisture sensors and have evapotranspiration adjustment capabilities.
  • Drip irrigation systems and hand-irrigation are encouraged.
  • Sprinklers will only be allowed on turf and other groundcovers. All other landscape plantings must be irrigated with efficient, low water-use devices (e.g. drip system, sub-surface irrigation).
  • Plants must be grouped by similar irrigation requirements and irrigation systems must be set up to irrigate the individual water-use zones.
  • Decorative fountains and landscape water features must use re-circulating systems.

Local Water Use and Landscaping Regulations.