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Facing a historic water shortage, agencies across the west target decorative grass

Ian James Los Angeles Times on November 17, 2022

With the federal government calling for major cuts in water use to address the historic shortage on the Colorado River, the leaders of 30 agencies that supply cities from the Rocky Mountains to Southern California have signed an agreement committing to boost conservation, in part by pledging to target the removal of one especially thirsty mainstay of suburban landscapes: decorative grass.

The water agencies, which supply Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Santa Monica, Burbank, San Diego and other cities, have committed to a nonbinding list of actions, including creating a program to remove 30% of “nonfunctional” grass and replace it with “drought- and climate-resilient landscaping, while maintaining vital urban landscapes and tree canopies.”

The pledge could strengthen efforts across the Southwest to remove grass along roadsides and medians, and at homeowners associations, apartment complexes, businesses and other properties.

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