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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Water Rationing for Front Lawns in America's Southwest

This reminds me of 1992, when my wife and I moved to Santa Barbara, and we found that the city had all kinds of water rationing. In that respect, it's not a new issue by any means. In Fresno, which is scorching hot all summer, homeowners can water their lawns every other day, depending on the street address, and then only well before Noon or at night after sundown.

At the New York Times, "To Save Water, Parched Southwest Cities Ask Homeowners to Lose Their Lawns":
LOS ANGELES — This is how officials here feel about grass these days: since 2009, the city has paid $1.4 million to homeowners willing to rip out their front lawns and plant less thirsty landscaping.

At least the lawns are still legal here. Grass front yards are banned at new developments in Las Vegas, where even the grass medians on the Strip have been replaced with synthetic turf.

In Austin, Tex., lawns are allowed; watering them, however, is not — at least not before sunset. Police units cruise through middle-class neighborhoods hunting for sprinklers running in daylight and issuing $475 fines to their owners.

Worried about dwindling water supplies, communities across the drought-stricken Southwest have begun waging war on a symbol of suburban living: the lush, green grass of front lawns.

In hopes of enticing, or forcing, residents to abandon the scent of freshly cut grass, cities in this parched region have offered homeowners ever-increasing amounts to replace their lawns with drought-resistant plants; those who keep their grass face tough watering restrictions and fines for leaky sprinklers.

These efforts are drastically reshaping the landscape, with cactuses and succulents taking over where green grass once reigned.

“The era of the lawn in the West is over,” said Paul Robbins, the director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin. “The water limits are insurmountable, unless the Scotts Company develops a genetically modified grass that requires almost no water. And I’m sure it’s keeping them up at night.”
And this is pretty much how I feel about it:
The first five months of this year were the driest on record in California, with reservoirs in the state at 20 percent below normal levels. The lawn rebate program here will save approximately 47 million gallons of water each year, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

But some residents worry that turf removal has already gone too far, robbing children of play spaces.

“It’s getting to the point where kids live in apartments, and they don’t even see grass, except in magazines,” said Betty Humphrey of Los Angeles. She raised her son with an expansive lawn, and said her family would not be pulling up its grass no matter how much money the city offered.

The city is already short on green space, said Ms. Humphrey, 63. “I don’t want to end up like New York or Chicago, with no grass.”
And it's shocking, but "climate change" isn't even mentioned. What a wasted chance to shill for the global warming industry.

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