Category Archives: Water Regulations

Posts related to various water restrictions and regulations.

What happens in Vegas…

I have to admit, I hope this is a case where “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

The Southern Nevada Water Authority (which serves an area that includes the city of Las Vegas) is offering incentives to individuals to remove their “water-thirsty lawns” and replace them with a “lush yet water-efficient” desert landscape.  Participants in the program will be paid $1.50/square foot for the first 5,000 square feet of lawn that are removed, and an additional $1.00/square foot for anything over 5,000 square feet.  They mean business!  It has lead to removal of over 130 million square feet (3,000 acres) of lawn according to their website.

Here is an example of a yard that has been renovated as part of the program:

Picture credit: www.snwa.com
Before
Picture credit: www.snwa.com
After

Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that the water situation throughout most of the Southwest is very dire and that removal of turfgrass will have a significant impact on water use.  Having lived in the high desert of southern Idaho for most of my early years I know all too well how much water lawns require.  I definitely think that a landscape appropriate to the desert climate is a good move.  I am happy to see that they are encouraging plants in the landscape and not advocating for the replacement of natural turf with synthetic lawns.  Properly designed, these new landscapes should not have the same heat-island effect that would have happened if synthetic turfgrass had been installed, which should keep the additional pressure on air conditioning systems to a minimum.

Here in Florida, we advocate for the responsible use of lawns in the landscape.  Turfgrass plays an important role in the landscape providing space for recreation, stabilizing soil against erostion, and acting as a filter to remove contaminants from water infiltrating the soil.  The Florida Friendly Landscaping (FFL) program is designed to aid people in designing/installing landscapes that feature plants that perform well in Florida’s climate with minimal inputs.  The FFL program does not advocate for complete removal of turfgrass areas.  Instead, the program is based on the principles of “right plant, right place.”  Sounds sort of like the program in Nevada minus the financial incentive.

Water Management District Adds Teeth to Watering Restrictions

Watering restrictions are not new to anyone living in Florida.  Particularly along the western coastline.  Earning much attention from the media due to the concern surrounding the potential damage that might result to lawns along with the argument that lawns irrigation uses too much of our fresh water supply.

It was common to hear through the grapevine that people would frequently violate the watering restrictions based on the low risk of being caught.  The system relied on violators being turned in by neighbors or others passing by since there were not enough staff members to canvas the streets looking for the errant irrigation sprinkler.  That is not the case any longer.

I came across an article in the Ocala newspaper that details plans by the St. Johns River Water Management District to hire a private company who will be responsible for monitoring a large portion of the district.  It will be interesting to watch/listen to this develop as I have a feeling that many people have been ignoring the rules for one reason or another.  That may not be safe to do from this point forward.