Arizona City Implementing New Natural Grass Ban

Arizona City Just Banned Natural... Grass?

( – Arizona is well known for its semi-arid and arid climate that often results in droughts. In extreme conditions, the state limits water consumption, even going so far as to cut off the water supply completely. Many residents experience difficulty maintaining their lawns without using copious amounts of water. One city has taken an approach that’s making headlines.

Natural grass requires regular watering to thrive. According to Climate Data, Scottsdale only gets about 10.2 inches of rain annually, which isn’t enough to maintain natural grass year-round. Many homes in Arizona use artificial turf and synthetic grass options to keep that bright green look.

Banning Grass?

The city of Scottsdale, nestled in Maricopa County, recently issued a ban that prevents the use of natural grass in front yards of new residential homes. This mandate will go into effect on any new constructions as of August 15. Before enacting the ban, the city council conducted a survey showing that 86% of the population supported such action.

According to a press release, Scottsdale Ordinance 4606 is a collaboration between the city, the Colorado Basin Municipal, and Public Water Providers to help reduce water waste. Scottsdale’s Water’s executive director, Brian Biesemeyer, says the move is a step in the right direction, and the city hopes to play a significant role in adopting water conservation practices, “setting an example for other communities across the region.”

This is one of many actions the city has taken. For example, in 2022, the city council passed a different ordinance aimed at preventing homeowner associations (HOAs) from mandating that residents in a community maintain lush grass.

Some Controversy

It’s likely that other locales will follow in Scottsdale’s steps, but in some Arizona cities, there’s a bit of controversy over water consumption. For instance, as of July 17, the state is experiencing megadrought conditions, resulting in little water flowing to the farms. Yet, In one rural area, there’s green as far as the eye can see — and it’s all for a Saudi Arabia company.

Fondomonte, Arizona, arrived in the state in 2015 and owns property that spans acres in the region just west of Phoenix. Saudi Arabia grows alfalfa on this land, which thrives even when residents lose water access to feed their cattle. In fact, it has unfettered access to the state’s groundwater. In 2022, the company used an equivalent amount of water that could support more than 50,000 people.

The company’s lease expires in 2024, though Governor Katie Hobbs’ (D) office is reportedly considering not renewing it.

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