Agriculture · U.S.

This state banned “nonfunctional” grass. Could it ripple to the drought-stricken Central Valley?

Residents of the southern Nevada will be collectively saying goodbye to grass strips along their sidewalks, thanks to a new bill signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak on Friday.

Water shortages and declining levels at Lake Mead have pushed the Silver State to engage in drastic conservation measures, including the prohibition of nearly one-third of all grass in the southern portion of the state.

“I think that it’s incumbent upon us for the next generation to be more conscious of our conservation of our natural resources, water being particularly important,” Sisolak told reporters last week when asked about the bill before he had signed it.

Assembly Bill 356 will prohibit Colorado River water distributed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority from being used to irrigate “nonfunctional turf” starting Jan. 1, 2027, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

The grass specifically prohibited? Those used between roads and sidewalks, in medians and traffic circles and decorative grass outside businesses, housing developments and similar areas.

Three major caveats, however, exist: single-family homes, golf courses, and parks.

According to the water authority’s estimate, the new law will lead to the eventual removal of 3,900 to 4,000 acres of nonfunctional grass, or about 6 square miles worth of thirsty turf.

That’s about 30 percent of the 13,000 acres of grass currently in the Las Vegas Valley.

The San Joaquin Valley Sun
Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.