To Save Water Amid a Mega Drought, Las Vegas Bans Grass


The new law, passed with the support of both parties, aims to help the existing water go even further. This is an example of the kind of drastic measures other regions may have to take increasingly to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

It also indicates the choices, some difficult, some mundane, that must be made to implement these measures. Here, an advisory board of community members decided, with the help of authority, what was functional turf (including sports fields, cemeteries, and some plots in residential developments by size) and what should go (most everything else). The law set a 2027 deadline for work to be completed.

Kurtis Hyde, maintenance manager at the company where Mr. Gonzalez works, Par 3 Landscape & Maintenance, said that at some homeowners association meetings he attended, residents talked quite loudly about the possibility of losing turf. “People get emotional about grass,” he said.

The ban follows years of extensive efforts to cut water use, including a voluntary “cash for lawn” program launched in 1999 to help individual homeowners lose their lawn, following irrigation limitations and the establishment of a team of water waste researchers. However, the institution’s managing director, John J. Entsminger, said such measures are not sufficient due to the end of the drought and the continued growth of the region.

“Our community has been the world leader in urban water conservation for the past 20 years,” said Mr. Entsminger. “We must do even better in the next 20 years.”

The water authority says the move to replace thirsty, sprinkler-fed grasses with drought-tolerant, drip-irrigated plants could reduce water use by up to 70 percent. If grass is replaced by artificial grass, which is preferred by some, the savings increase even more.



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