Menlo Park adopts water-conserving landscape ordinance


Drinking water shortages across California, diminished water for farming, degraded fish habitats, increased wildfire risk, and potential saltwater contamination of freshwater supplies – all were threats caused by drought conditions that led Gov. Jerry Brown to issue an executive order April 2015 to curb unnecessary water use on landscaping – and fast.

Menlo Park adopted on Jan. 26 its own version of the statewide mandate, using alterations recommended by the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency.

Now, all Menlo Park residents who apply for a building or planning permit with the city and who plan to install 500 square feet or more of new landscaping or 1,000 square feet or more of rehabilitated landscape must either comply with prescribed water-saving measures, such as restrictions on turf area and requirements to plant drought-tolerant species, or comply with limits imposed by a complicated water-budget formula.

The ordinance does not apply to local, state or federal historical sites, ecological restoration areas, or botanical garden and arboretum areas.

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