There’s a water crisis. Why do we still have lawns? — The Washington Post #aridification

Click the link to read the article on The Washington Post website (Dan Zak). Here’s an excerpt:

An American dream meets a changing landscape

The planet has accelerated its revolt against us and still we tend our lawns, one part of Earth we can control. Society falters, resources dwindle and, still, lawns…

“It contributes nothing,” says M.J. Veverka about her lawn, which she’s watered and weeded and mowed for 31 years — and for what? The lawn is static, nonfunctional, tedious. Last year Veverka filled in her backyard pool, removed the surrounding lawn and enlisted Mattei’s company to turn the space into an oasis of native plants, a “homegrown national park,” in the words of a grass-roots movement for regenerating biodiversity. Veverka so loves the backyard — which is now an evolving work of horticultural art and a functioning component of the surrounding ecosystem — that she wants to do the same thing with her front yard.

Forty million acres: The entire state of Georgia couldn’t contain America’s total lawnage. And we pour 9 billion gallons of water on landscapingevery day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile the Southwest United States is enduring a megadrought; the past two decades constitute its driest period since the year 800. California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought state of emergency in October. In a world thirsty for water, lawns are a sneaky siphon…

But lawn has become a liability — or in some cases an asset, on the condition of its removal. California’s main water utility is paying customers between $2 and $5 for each square foot of living turf that they remove. Last year Nevada outlawed certain types of lawn; rather, the state legislature prohibited the use of water from the dribbling Colorado River to feed certain types of “nonfunctional turf,” which in southern Nevada slurps up to 12 billion gallons of water every year (more than 10 percent of the state’s usage of the river). The law created a committee to sort “functional” turf from “nonfunctional”; discussions were had about how to categorize “pet relief” areas and “wedding lawns at golf courses.”

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