Water Conservation

On October 27, 2015, the Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution 2015-288, which established the Countywide Water Conservation Program (CWWCP) in response to the declining water levels in the Nipomo Mesa Water Conservation Area (NMWCA) part of Santa Maria Groundwater Basin), Los Osos Groundwater Basin (LOGWB), and the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin (PRGWB). A key strategy of the CWWCP is to ensure all new construction and new or expanded agriculture will offset its predicted water use by reducing existing water use on other properties within the same water basin. The CWWCP has created services within each the NMWCA, LOGWB, and PRGWB, to assist with water conservation.

To determine whether your property is within one of the three basins offering water conservation services, launch the Land Use View and look up your property by assessor parcel number or address.

Services

Agriculture Offset Program

The Agricultural Offset program is an implementation tool and is intended to substantially reduce increases in groundwater extraction and lowering of groundwater levels in the PRGWB (excluding the Atascadero Sub-basin) only.

Cannabis Cultivation

On November 8, 2016 California state legislature adopted Proposition 64, allowing for the adult use and cultivation of cannabis and legalizing the commercial sale, distribution and production of cannabis for adult use at state-licensed facilities beginning on January 1, 2018. ​

Effective on December 31, 2017, the County of San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors adopted Ordinance No. 3358, a permanent cannabis ordinance regulating commercial and personal cannabis cultivation in unincorporated areas of the county. The ordinance sets parameters for the number of permits to be issued for cannabis sites, the location and operation of cannabis sites, and the allowable water usage for cultivation.

Cash for Grass

The Cash for Grass program offers incentives to property owners in the PRGWB and NMWCA who are seeking to replace irrigated turf and replace it with approved low water using plants and groundcover.

Incentives are available to qualifying property owners on a first-come, first-served basis while funding is available. The Program generates water savings credits that can be purchased by applicants from within the same groundwater basin who need to meet water neutrality requirements for new construction. Funding availability is subject to change at any time.

Los Osos Groundwater Basin

New and existing development within the Los Osos Groundwater Basin are required to retrofit older, non-conserving toilets, faucet aerators, and showerheads with those that are water efficient through the Retrofit to-Build Program (Title 19) and the Retrofit on-sale program (Title 8).

Los Osos Water Conservation Rebate Program - For Homeowner Installation

The Los Osos Water Conservation Rebate Program is administered by the Public Works Department to reduce water usage in the basin to meet the goal of 50 gallons per person per day.

New Construction

All new urban and rural development within the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin (PRGWB) and Nipomo Mesa Water Conservation Area (NMWCA) are required to offset new water use at a minimum 1:1 ratio through the purchase of water offset credits prior to construction permit issuance.  New structures may include but are not limited to single family dwellings, mobile homes, secondary units, guest houses, commercial buildings, and pools. Offsets are not required for additions, replacement dwellings, and expansions of existing structures.  

Nipomo Water Conservation Area

Properties within the Nipomo Mesa Water Conservation Area (NMWCA) are subject to new construction and plumbing retrofit policies and fees. ​ The County operates the Cash for Grass program, Washer Rebate Program, and Plumbing Retrofit Program in the NMWCA to generate water savings.

Paso Robles Groundwater Basin

All new urban and rural development and new irrigated agriculture in the PRGWB (excluding the Atascadero Sub-basin) are required to offset new water use at a 1:1 ratio. Offset requirements for new urban and rural development are implemented by generating credits through two primary methods: The Cash for Grass program and Plumbing retrofit Program.

Retrofit-to-Build Program (Title 19)

The Retrofit-to-Build program (Title 19) requires all new development that uses water from the Los Osos Groundwater Basin (LOGWB) to retrofit older plumbing fixtures in existing homes and businesses to save twice the amount of water the new development will use. ​

Effective March 10th, 2014, toilet and showerhead retrofit credits can no longer come from the Prohibition Zone. ​

A retrofit credit table has been developed to calculate the savings of each retrofitted house or business. Please utilize this table to calculate the water saving from each retrofitted fixture. Qualifying fixtures include: Toilets, showerheads, and clothes washers. Water savings will be dependent on gallons saved per day based on the existing and retrofitted fixtures. Property owners must obtain at least 300 water credits to obtain a Water Conservation Certificate and build a single-family home.

Plumbing Retrofit Program in Paso Robles Groundwater Basin

The County has partnered with the Wallace Group to administer and operate the Plumbing Retrofit Program, which replaces high-flow plumbing fixtures with low-flow plumbing fixtures in homes that are located within the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin area with the goal of reducing daily water use in the area.

Retrofit-on-Sale Plumbing Verification

The Retrofit-On-Sale Program (Title 8 Retrofit Certificate) is a requirement for all homes being sold in the Los Osos Groundwater Basin (LOGWB) area or the Nipomo Mesa Water Conservation Area (NMWCA). This includes homes that were built after 1994 and homes that were previously issued a Title 8 Retrofit Certificate. The certificate is a formal County-approved document that certifies that the home being sold meets all retrofit requirements for the existing plumbing fixtures (toilets, showerheads, faucet aerators) in the home.

Washer Rebate Program

The Washer Rebate Program offers monetary incentives for property owners in the PRGWB and NMWCA area who are seeking to remove their high-water using clothes washer and replace it with an Energy Star certified clothes washer with an integrated water factor (IWF) of 3.2 or less.  Incentives are available to qualifying property owners on a first-come, first-served basis while funding is available.  More information on how to calculate the GPD savings between the old and new washers can be found within the Washer Rebate Program application. 

Property Information

Our interactive Land Use View mapping application can be used to look up property information by assessor parcel number (APN) or address.

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