California Green Building Code (CALGreen) – Outdoor water use

The purpose of this regulation is to decrease outdoor water usage below the minimum standard. A separate water meter must presently be erected by the water provider for new water service servicing more than 5,000 square feet of irrigated landscape.

CALGreen Code Section A5.304.2: Outdoor water use.

For new water service not subject to the provisions of Water Code Section 535, separate meters or submeters shall be installed for indoor and outdoor water use for landscaped areas of at least 500 square feet but not more than 1,000 square feet.


The intent of this measure is to reduce outdoor water use beyond the mandatory requirement in the California Water Code, Title 8, Chapter 8, Division 1, Section 535. AB 1881 (Stats. 2006, c. 559) Water Code Section 535, currently requires that a separate water meter be installed by the water purveyor for new water service serving more than 5,000 square feet of irrigated landscape. Local jurisdictions may have adopted more-restrictive ordinances.

Compliance Method:

First, determine if the new project is anticipated to have 500 square feet but no more than 1,000 square feet of landscape area.

If so, then install a submeter after the main meter for outdoor water use.


Show separate meters and submeters on the construction documents.


Plan intake: The plan reviewer should confirm in the construction documents that a separate submeter was provided for landscape irrigation.

On-site enforcement: The inspector should verify that separate meters are installed as specified on the approved construction documents.

(Excerpted from ‘Guide to the 2022 California Green Building Standards Code Nonresidential’ – Appendix A5)

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