Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) and the New Normal for California Landscaping
06/15/2017 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
851 Howard Street
San Francisco


On January 17, 2014, and again on April 25, 2014, Governor Brown declared a State of Emergency due to severe drought conditions throughout the State of California. This executive order includes requirements for a new Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO). The ordinance promotes the values and benefits of landscaping practices that integrate and go beyond the conservation and efficient use of water, sets a Maximum Applied Water Allowance as an upper limit for water use and reduces water use to the lowest practical amount. This ambitious measure targets the single largest area of urban water use, landscape irrigation, and is asking designers and operators to re-thinking the status quo. 

At our 2016 Water Conservation Showcase ( we dedicated one of the educational sessions to this topic. This full-day training will include an expansive look at the ordinance and will explore an array of design strategies that meet the standard.  Presentation topics will include water budget calculations, irrigation best practices, the optimal use of compost and low-water plant selection. The training will also include an interactive design review activity where the participants will apply the concepts covered and get feedback on their solutions. The Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance training is being developed through a partnership between StopWaste ( and PG&E and is free to the public.


Introduction & Safety Announcements

  • Energy-water Nexus

  • Overview of Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance

  • MWELO Documentation Requirements

  • Forum on MWELO Enforcement

  • Break

  • Understanding Water Budget and Zoning

  • Water Budget Exercise

  • Lunch

  • Irrigation Best Practices

  • Using Compost in a Water Efficient Landscape

  • Water Efficient Plant Selection

  • The Definition of a Design Review Problem

  • Time for Students to Redline Design Documents

  • Review of Solutions and Feedback

  • Panel for Q&A

Wrap-up, Q&A, Post-course evaluation


The objective of this educational program is that at the conclusion participants will be able to:

  • interpret the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance and understand how it applies to different properties.

  • design, implement and manage landscape water use to meet the new normal for California.

  • calculate water budgets for different climate zones.

  • select appropriate planting options to stay within a defined water budget.

  • apply appropriate irrigation strategies based on plant type, topography, soil type and climate.

  • utilize compost strategically to reduce landscape water use.

  • develop the required documentation to comply with the MWELO standards.

AIA: 7


Instructor: Schoonmaker, Kelly
Company: StopWaste
Biography: Kelly is a program manager at StopWaste (the Alameda County Waste Management Authority). She focuses on educating landscape professionals and home gardeners on the importance of soil health and the value of compost and mulch in creating high performance soils. She is an active board member of the California Organics Recycling Council where she works alongside composters to ensure the availability and access to quality compost for consumers. In a past life as a practicing landscape architect, she worked mainly on public and institutional projects throughout California. Kelly has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Landscape Architecture from the University of Oregon, and a BS in Ecology from UC San Diego.

Instructor: Lori Palmquist
Company: WaterWonk

Lori Palmquist, CID, CLWM, CIC, CLIA
Irrigation designer, consultant, and educator

Lori Palmquist, CID, CIC, CLIA, CLWM, is an irrigation expert who fell in love with irrigation about 15 years ago as a landscape contractor, and has been playing with water ever since. She has been a landscape professional for 27 years.

She is a partner for WaterWonk, a company whose mission is to get all landscape professionals practicing impeccable water efficiency in their projects. Lori teaches Bay-Friendly, QWEL, and Green Gardener trainings, speaks to Master Gardeners, professional landscape associations, garden clubs, homeowner classes, and basically anybody who will listen.

Lori’s true love these days is programming web applications for designing and implementing water-efficient landscapes. will soon house all ten web apps she has developed to date.

Instructor: de Graaf, Jennifer
Company: de Graaf Design Assoc
Biography: Jennifer de Graaf, PLA, LEED AP, BFQP, has 20 years of professional experience in design and project management for a variety of project types, including parks, schools, hospitals, trail systems, streetscapes, historic properties, commercial housing, and estates and private residences.

In addition to project work, she works as an instructor for UCBerkeley Extension in the landscape architecture program and is the lead trainer for Bay Friendly.

Instructor: Christine Hawkins
Company: Hunter Industries
Biography: Christine Hawkins is a Specification Manager for Hunter Industries, a manufacturer of a full line of irrigation products. Christine's passion is teaching others about the green and landscape industry—particularly on best practices in horticulture, water management, and the irrigation industry. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Horticultural Science from Cal Poly, Christine primarily focused on greenhouse operations and plant propagation, landscape maintenance and design, sales, distribution, and education. In her current role as a Specification Manager for Northern California with Hunter Industries, she gets the opportunity to collaborate with landscape architects, design professionals, irrigation consultants, and municipalities on efficient irrigation systems.

Instructor: Ron Alexander
Company: R. Alexander Associates
Biography: Mr. Alexander is a horticulturist with over 30 years of experience working with compost and other organic recycled products. He is also the President of R. Alexander Associates, Inc., a consulting company specializing in product development for organic recycled products. Before becoming a consultant, Mr. Alexander was Vice President of Marketing for a firm specializing in the marketing of composted products. He has presented over 300 papers over his career and has authored the ‘Field Guide to Compost Use’, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Official's Erosion Control Specifications for Compost, 'Landscape Architecture Specifications for Compost Utilization', and was a main author of Caltrans compost specs.