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Compost Could Create Water Efficient Landscapes in California

A growing amount of research links the use of compost to a reduction in water demand for urban and rural landscapes.


As part of the California Governor’s Statewide mandate to reduce water use in response to the extreme drought, the State Department of Water Resources was tasked with revising their Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO). The Department of Water Resources asked Global Green to submit comments on the MWELO as part of their stakeholder process. Global Green supported language that includes compost as a means of reducing irrigation and these comments were subsequently accepted in the draft version, specifically serving to inform section 492.6(a)(3) pertaining to soil preparation, mulch, and amendments.



Global Green’s comments were then successfully included in the final version of California’s MWELO, requiring cites to use compost as a method to reduce water demand and irrigation. Approved by the California Water Commission on July 15, 2015, the MWELO outlines the practices that commercial and residential landscape developments must use to ensure irrigation can be minimized on their properties. Local agencies (cities and counties) must adopt the MWELO by December 1, 2015, or adopt a Local or Regional Ordinance at least as effective in water conservation as MWELO.


By Executive Order B-29-15 and the revised ordinance, local agencies are required to report enforcement of the MWELO annually, beginning January 31, 2017. Depending on whether local agencies choose to adopt the MWELO or an equivalent Local/Regional Ordinance, implementation and adoption must be reported no later than March 1, 2016.



Once implemented and enforced, incorporating compost into more landscapes across the state will have the effect of greatly increasing the demand for compost across California, thus sequestering carbon and reducing landscape irrigation needs.

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