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Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (WELO)

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landscape plantsWhat is the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance?

In 2010, the State adopted the first Model WELO (MWELO), which established a structure for planning, designing, installing, maintaining, and managing water efficient landscapes in new construction and rehabilitated landscaping. Overall, the MWELO seeks to ensure that landscapes promote water efficiency, soil health, stormwater management, and erosion control. In 2015, the State updated the MWELO to maximize water efficiency. In order to comply with the State’s requirements, the City of Torrance has adopted the State's 2015 Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.

Is my project subject to MWELO?
MWELO applies to any landscaping project greater than 500 square feet that requires a permit, plan check or design review. Please refer to the tables below to determine applicability for your project and the correct compliance method.


New Projects Requiring Permits

Less than 500 s.f.

MWELO doesn’t apply

500 to 2,500 s.f.

Prescriptive Compliance or Performance Approach

Over 2,500 s.f.

Performance Approach


Rehabilitated Landscapes Requiring Permits

Less than 2,500 s.f.

MWELO doesn’t apply

2,500 s.f. or more

Performance Approach


MWELO does not apply to

  • Registered local, state or federal historical sites
  • Ecological restoration projects that don’t require a permanent irrigation system
  • Mined-land reclamation projects that do not require a permanent irrigation system
  • Existing plant collections, as part of botanical gardens and arboretums open to the public

What is the Process?
Staff will review the Landscape Plan Review Application and required plans and reports. Revisions and resubmittal may be required. Upon approval of the Landscape Documentation Package, the applicant should take note of the date on the Certificate of Completion and Installation. The Certificate of Completion and Installation, irrigation and maintenance schedules are due at final inspection.

Submittal Requirements
Landscape Documentation Package consists of the application, and two copies of applicable reports and plans:
         1. Landscape Plan Review Application
         2. Soil Management Report
         3. Landscape Design Plan
         4. Irrigation Design Plan
         5. Grading Design Plan


Model Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance


Performance Approach

Landscape Plan Review Application
Certificate of Completion and Installation

Prescriptive Compliance - include page 1 of the Landscape Plan Review Application

Prescriptive Submittal Checklist 

Please visit the following Links for more Information

To help you verify your calculations, please use the following Water Budget Calculator .

The Torrance Water Service Purveyor Map will help you determine which water purveyor services your area. The WUCOLS Plant Search Database is a helpful resource to verify plant water use categories.
To look up Southern California invasive species, visit Don't Plant Pest!

Additional Contacts

Torrance Municipal Water Dept. - Water Services - (310) 781-6900
California Water Service Co. - (310) 257-1400
Metropolitan Water District - (213) 217-6000

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