Scottsdale, Arizona, won ground against the drought in the western U.S. by banning front lawns for all newly constructed single-family homes, CNN reported.
In early July, the Scottsdale City Council came to a unanimous agreement about the measure, CNN said. The Council had previously collected data from local Scottsdale Water customers, 86% of whom supported the new policy.
Arizona has been at the head of the anti-lawn movement, as the state’s desert climate highlights the problems with traditional turf grass.
Grass needs to be watered regularly to stay alive, which is expensive and bad for water conservation. The more scarce water is in an area naturally, the more water a lawn needs, running up the utility bill for residents of drought-stricken areas.
Even in areas with lots of water, grass needs regular mowing, lots of fertilizer, and pesticides, all of which cost homeowners time and money. The runoff from the chemicals is bad for the environment, while grass itself provides no food or shelter for most local wildlife, including pollinators.
For all of these reasons, drought-friendly lawn alternatives are cheaper to maintain and better for the environment. Homeowners can get low-maintenance landscaping designs that are beautiful and full of character by working with companies like Yardzen, or they can simply plant native species on their own.
That’s what future Scottsdale residents will need to do as of August 15, CNN reported.
“By adopting this ordinance, Scottsdale aims to lead the way in water conservation practices, setting an example for other communities across the region,” said Scottsdale Water’s executive director Brian Biesemeyer in a press release from the city.
Scottsdale has previously saved about 657 million gallons of water through other conservation measures, CNN reported.
Other parts of Arizona have also joined the effort. Phoenix imposed new water-saving requirements on developers, and the state has prohibited new single-family homes that rely on wells in Maricopa County.
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