The Las Vegas Valley is working with its citizens to help them ditch their grassy yards and embrace Nevada’s natural landscape instead.
The news was shared in an article by ProPublica that was reposted on Reddit.
The effort will conserve water and allow the population in Vegas to continue growing.
Community members have already done their part to conserve water indoors, and Nevada treats and recycles all indoor water. Outdoor water, however, cannot be recycled in the same way because it evaporates or settles into the ground.
Because of this, the state is turning toward grass reduction because growing grass in the desert climate requires a significant amount of water.
A similar plan has been utilized before and helped the conservation effort, but it encountered some pushback from homeowner associations (HOAs.) Also, some citizens want to preserve the aesthetic of green lawns, so the state is making an effort to find a compromise.
The state is targeting “nonfunctional” grass first, like grass that lines roadways and lakes, with the goal to get rid of all of it by 2027. Citizens upset about grass removal can submit an exemption request — many of which are approved — making the pushback from HOAs minimal.
In addition, some companies like Par 3 Landscape and Maintenance are offering ideas for alternative plantlife that is native to the area, such as evergreens and desert-friendly shrubs.
Families that choose to embrace the natural landscape will lower their water bills while leaving resources for the addition of new residents and businesses. On top of that, they’ll be helping to fight rising global temperatures.
Princeton reported that 800 million gallons of gasoline, which releases planet-warming gases, are used by lawn equipment each year, and an additional 17 million gallons are spilled in the process.
Plus, the Natural Resource Defense Council reported that lawns are responsible for consuming almost three trillion gallons of water each year. And when grass is grown outside of its natural habitat, it doesn’t benefit the local wildlife either.
One Redditor echoed this in the comments. “Lawns do NOT belong in the southwest,” they wrote.
Luckily, the Las Vegas Valley is setting a great example for communities looking to conserve water.
“If everyone else takes on similar initiatives, we’ll be able to sustain our community and communities across the Colorado River Basin for future generations,” said Howard Watts, Nevada state representative.
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