No more lawns: Las Vegas takes big step to address drought

In a city known for its lavish landscape, one wasteful decorative feature is getting the boot as Las Vegas announces a ban on ornamental grass. The ban comes as the state of Nevada faces a historic and devastating drought exacerbated by climate change. 

Many other cities have implemented similar temporary restrictions on watering ornamental grass during droughts, but Las Vegas is the first city to institute a permanent ban on non-functional lawns. The city encourages individuals, hotels, and businesses to replace these lawns with drought-resistant native plant landscaping. 

The ban applies to unused grass in areas like office parks, street medians, and at entrances to housing developments. This measure follows a previous incentive that paid homeowners three dollars per square foot of lawn converted to drought-resistant native plants. Developers were also already banned from constructing new homes with lawns. Thanks to these measures and rebates, an estimated 50 percent of the city’s decorative grass have already been removed. 

Las Vegas water officials estimate that every square foot of grass removed saves 73 gallons of water per year. In signing the new legislation, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said, “It’s incumbent upon us for the next generation to be more conscious of conservation and our natural resources—water being particularly important.”

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