A desert city built on a reputation for excess and indulgence wants to become a model for restraint and conservation with a first-in-the-nation policy banning grass that nobody walks on.
Las Vegas-area water officials have spent two decades trying to get people to replace thirsty greenery with desert plants, and now they’re asking the Nevada Legislature to outlaw roughly 40% of the turf that’s left.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority estimates there are almost 8 square miles of “nonfunctional turf” in the metro area — grass that no one ever walks on or otherwise uses in street medians, housing developments and office parks.
They say this grass requires four times as much water as drought-tolerant landscaping like cactus and other succulents. By ripping it out, they estimate the region can reduce annual water consumption by roughly 15% and save about 14 gallons per person per day.
Editor's note: Although the language in the article mentions "ornamental grass," it is not the nurseryman's definition of ornamental grasses. The writer uses this term for turfgrass that simply exists to be seen. The proposal is not trying to outlaw ornamental grasses like Panicum, Carex, etc. that many nurseries grow and retailers sell under that name.