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Las Vegas is pushing to become the first to ban ornamental grass

LAS VEGAS (AP) – The Desert City, built on the reputation of indulgence, wants to become a model of restraint by banning grass that no one walks on under a first-nation policy.

Las Vegas County water officials have spent two decades trying to replace thirsty greens with desert plants, and now they are demanding that the Nevada legislature outlaw about 40 percent of the remaining grass.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority estimates that there is almost 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) of “non-functioning peat” in the subway area. A grass that no one ever walks or otherwise uses on street nurses, housing development և office parks.

They say that this ornamental herb requires four times as much water as drought-tolerant landscaping, like cactus and other succulents. Pping it, they estimate that the region can reduce annual water consumption by about 15% և save about 14 gallons (53 liters) per person per day.

Las Vegas may be known for its stunning displays of neon lights, such as the Bellagio Fountains, but officials say residents of the dormitory’s scattered suburbs are taking conservative measures, including aggressively spraying drainage systems and drainage irrigation systems.

“Outside of Las Vegas, of course, public perceptions are very different; it’s been a long time since the ethics of water conservation in the community,” said Colby Pellegrino, director of water resources at Southern Najada Water Authority.

During the drought of the last decade, California imposed a temporary ban on watering ornamental grass, but no state or major city has tried to eliminate certain categories of grass forever.

“The scale of this is quite unprecedented in terms of banning this dysfunctional grass altogether,” said John von Berggren, a water policy analyst at Western Resource Advocates.

The proposal is part of a peat war that has been going on since at least 2003, when the Water Authority banned developers from planting green front yards in new units. It also offers older property owners the most extensive discount policy in the region to cut mining to $ 3 per square foot.

Those efforts are slowing down. The agency says that the number of hectares changed within the framework of its discount program last year decreased six times less than in 2008. At the same time, water consumption in southern Najada has increased by 9% since 2019.

Last year was the driest in the region’s history, when Las Vegas spent a record 240 days without measurable rain. And the further flow of the Colorado River, which makes up 90 percent of the water in southern Nyada, is questionable.

Way Rater supplies to Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming և Mexico. As drought և climate change decreases, what the river gives, the amount allocated to Arizona, California գում Nevada is planned to be further reduced.

Clark County Commissioner Just Astin Ons, who serves in the Water Authority, does not believe that removing decorative grass can save lives.

“To be clear, we are not coming from the backyard of your average landlord,” he said. But the grass in the middle of the park, where no one walks. “It’s dumb.”

“The only people who have ever set foot on the grass in the middle of the road system are the people who cut the grass,” said ones ounce.

The agency has various regulations on yards and public parks. Based on satellite imagery, it is believed that the ban on ornamental grass will primarily affect the common areas protected by homeowners’ associations and commercial property owners.

Ones said the proposal has met with resistance in some master plan communities, but water officials say drought awareness campaigns and policies, such as discounts, have evolved over the years.

Matt Walker, a lobbyist with the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, says consumer preferences have reached the point where home buyers from wetter areas are not cut off from neighborhoods that have parks but no ornamental grass.

Saving frees water, reduces per capita consumption, and reinforces builders’ arguments that the desert can provide greater growth. “And the benefits – what we do – is the ability to continue what builds homes.”

“We have really gained such a level of comfort that buyers are very willing to go back to responsible development practices when it comes to water use,” he added.

Other desert cities are not so sure. Salt Lake City has a decree that requires a certain amount of yard և medium landscaping. Phoenix, where some neighborhoods remain lush with flood irrigation, has never offered grass removal discounts.

Officials elsewhere are disgusted with their policies toward southern Nevada. Particularly in cities where water consumption per capita is high, they say there is no immediate approach to a drier future.

Las Vegas, for example, generally neglects toilets, showers, and dishwashers because the water body is able to treat wastewater and allow it to be discharged naturally to Lake Mead, behind the Colorado River Reservoir behind the Hoover Dam. It is refined for reuse.

The draconian anti-grass policy may not work in central Pyunik, said Cynthia Campbell, water consultant for the country’s fifth largest city. Urban առ grasses break the “urban heat islands” dangerous to health. Areas where there is no greenery to compensate for the heat through evaporative cooling.

Regional officials understand that future consumption needs to be reduced, but fear that preparation and perception may pay off if the community does not buy.

“There comes a time when people’s demands start to harden,” Campbell said. “They will say, ‘This is irreversible to me.’ For some people, it’s a pool. For some people, it’s grass. “

The Southern Nevada Water Authority is unsure if the idea of ​​banning grass will spread to other cities. But Pellegrino, head of water resources, said other areas would have to make changes.

“Especially any community that relies on Colorado River water.”


Metz reports from Carson City, Nevada and is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service that places journalists in the local media to cover impeccable issues.


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