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Cash for grass: Bill calls for homeowners to get rid of water-wasting lawns

Watering grass
Posted at 2:25 PM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 15:21:25-04

Colorado lawmakers want to pay homeowners to get rid of the grass on their lawns in exchange for cash.

It’s part of House Bill 1151, known as the Turf Replacement Program.

Colorado lawmakers argue that non-native grasses, like Kentucky Blue Grass, aren’t suitable for the state’s dry climate and take up about half the water used in cities.

“There’s not any more water out there and what water is out there is becoming really expensive,” John Berggren, a water policy analyst with Western Resource Advocates, told the Associated Press. “So let’s look at how we’re using it now.”

The program is voluntary, and homeowners would receive money to replace their grass with turf.

Similar programs across the West have saved billions of gallons of water, paying property owners anywhere from a few dimes to a few dollars for every square foot of turf they replace.

More than a dozen cities in Colorado already have similar programs.

The legislation would offer matching dollars for those programs, adding to the rebate property owners would receive.

The bill would also help governments launch programs of their own. And people who live in areas without such a program could apply directly to the state for money as well. It calls for $4 million from the general fund.

After two years, lawmakers will revisit the program and decide whether it should be continued.

HB 1151 has gained approval from the House Agriculture, Livestock & Water Committee.

It will now head to the House Appropriations Committee.