Cash for grass: Drew Beckwith — ‘The utility pays money for a customer to rip out their turf’

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From CBS4Denver.com (Paul Day):

Jim Creek is one of many tributaries to the Fraser River. In this valley, Denver Water operates dozens of diversion structures that siphon water from what would naturally flow in the Fraser. The big utility now wants approval to take even more water and pipe it to Denver as part of its Moffat Firming Project. Recreation and tourism would suffer if the stream is further imperiled, says [Kirk Klancke, a fly fisherman and Grand County resident] who’s president of the local chapter of Trout Unlimited. “This river is struggling for survival,” Klancke said. “An additional withdrawal could put it over a tipping point where it may not survive.”[…]

Is there a way to keep the Fraser from becoming a liquid graveyard? Yes, say environmental groups. But their solution requires Denver Water customers to make changes in their yards. “The utility pays money for a customer to rip out their turf,” explains Drew Beckwith, a water policy analyst with an environmental group called Western Resource Advocates. The program he’s talking about is called Cash for Grass and it’s already ongoing in Aurora…

Beckwith claims that if just 20 percent of Denver Water customers replanted only half their yards, the amount of water saved would equal the new diversion on the Fraser River requested for Denver’s Moffat Firming project.

The new boss at Denver Water says its not that simple. “Removing turf from resident lawns does not in itself solve the problem,” says Jim Lochhead. Lochhead says a program like Aurora’s would take years to get rolling and Denver needs water in a relatively short time frame. He says the added volume provided by an approved Moffat Firming Project will help handle additional growth and improve the reliability of Denver Water’s system.

More Moffat Collection System Project coverage here.

One thought on “Cash for grass: Drew Beckwith — ‘The utility pays money for a customer to rip out their turf’

  1. Coloradans need to be more forward thinking than ever before. We are using way too much water to keep lawns green. Most residents, and especially businesses actually utilize very little of the grass that they maintain and the near future will NOT allow for such waste. I would be more than happy to be part of a program that helps residents Xeriscape and reduce their water usage. I have a lot and a half and would be glad to maintain just a small grassy area and re-landscape the rest with native draught resistent plants.

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