How anyone can justify having a lawn is beyond me. It’s a pleasure that is hurting the masses. Why? Because water is a precious resource.

Anyone living in California, the desert or another similar climate knows those grassy areas are a waste of water.

Lawns are helping to deplete water resources in California. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

“Lawns are estimated to use about 40 percent to 60 percent of landscape irrigation in California. Overall, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for about 50 percent of annual residential water consumption statewide,” according to the U.C. Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

When I lived in South Lake Tahoe I participated in the local water district’s turf buyback program. Out went the grass and in went plants native to the area that were fed water via a drip line.

No grass in my yard in Chico. Plants are all watered via a drip line.

I understand the attraction to grass. It’s pretty. It’s soft. It’s fun to play on.

It’s also selfish and wasteful to keep watering it. There are plenty of alternative landscaping solutions that looks great, use less water, and are more practical.

Let’s start with California (and other states) banning grass from all new residential and commercial construction. Then we can work on getting rid of existing front yards and back yards, and commercial strips.

Even better would be to do the right thing before government issues a mandate.

American Canyon in Napa County is being proactive by delivering recycled water to residents and using that same reusable water on vegetation throughout the city. Residents can fill up containers with non-potable water to use for landscaping or flushing toilets. The program has existed since the early 2000s.

The city’s philosophy is “the right water for the right use.”

In 2020, the city delivered 2,900 acre-feet of potable water and 800 acre-feet of recycled water to residential and commercial customers. (An acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons.) New multi-family residences come with two water lines. The purple pipes are non-potable water that goes into toilets.

In Todos Santos, Mexico, many homes have gray water pipes going from the inside to the outside for irrigation.

Solutions exist if we are willing to change our ways.

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