Decorative grass requires four times the amount of water than natural plants in the area
A city built in a desert known for its barrenness hopes to become a model of environmental protection. To this end, he discussed a ban to prohibit water-saving lawns to save water.
The Las Vegas authorities have tried for two decades to persuade people to replace plants in their water-consuming places with desert plants, and now they are making further recommendations: They are asking the Nevada legislature to roughly ban 40% of the grass still present.
The Water Authority of Southern Nevada estimates that there are nearly 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) of “non-functional grass” that no one can walk on or use on streets, public housing, and office parks.
They said that the amount of water needed for decorative grasses is four times that of natural plants in the area, such as cacti. By eliminating these small green spaces, they estimate that the area can reduce its water consumption by 15%, saving 53 liters (13 gallons) of water per person per day.
Las Vegas is famous for attractions such as the gorgeous fountain at the Bellagio Hotel, but officials say residents are concerned about water conservation and are always aware of leaks in irrigation systems and garden sprinklers.
Colby Pellegrino, director of aquatic resources in Southern Nevada, said: “The outside world is very different. It ignores the community’s ethical code of water conservation.”
In recent droughts, Nevada temporarily banned the use of water to irrigate gardens, but no city or state tried to eliminate certain types of lawns.
“The scale of this proposal is unprecedented,” said John Berggren, a water policy analyst at Western Resource Advocates.
The proposal was part of a struggle that began in 2003 when builders were prohibited from planting vegetation in front of new homes. The proposal provided elderly homeowners with compensation of three dollars per square foot (930 square centimeters).
The plan has not achieved much. Officials say that the amount of land cleared today is six times that of 2008. Water consumption in southern Nevada has increased by 9% from 2019.
Last year was one of the driest years in the history of the region. There was no rain in Las Vegas for 240 days. There are doubts about the amount of water that will flow through the Colorado River in the future, and the Colorado River will provide 90% of the area’s water.
The river supplies water to Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming and Mexico. Due to drought and climate change, the river water is reduced, and it is estimated that the amount of water allocated to Arizona, California and Nevada will be further reduced.
Clark County Committee member, Justin Jones (Justin Jones) is a member of the Board of Directors of the Water Management Agency. He said that removing decorative grass will not destroy people’s lives.
He said: “For the avoidance of doubt: we do not aim at the backyard of the house.” The goal is grass with no one walking in the middle of the road. “Silly”.
Jones added: “The only people who step on the grass in the middle of the road are the people who mow the grass.”
The agency has different regulations on public green spaces. Judging from satellite images, he believes that decorative lawns are mostly located in public areas maintained by homeowners and commercial space owners’ associations.
Jones said that the proposal has encountered some resistance in communities with lovely green spaces, but in general, this culture is changing due to increased awareness of water use and compensation for lawns.
Matt Walker, a lobbyist for the Southern Nevada Builders Association, said that if there are parks nearby, houses without decorative lawns will not deter potential buyers.
Walker said that water saving can reduce per capita water consumption and strengthen the builders’ argument that the desert can accommodate more people. “So we can continue to do our thing, which is to build a house.”
He said: “People are more willing to accept responsible practices when it comes to water use.”