Scottsdale City Council bans use of natural grass for front lawns on all new builds

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In an effort to deal with drought, the Scottsdale City Council unanimously voted to ban the use of natural grass for front lawns on all new builds. The new ordinance will apply to new houses constructed or permitted after August 15. Prior to the natural grass ordinance, Scottsdale officials asked residents to use 5% less water, and city government operations reduced their water usage by 9%.

“As we continue to deal with the drought, we continue to deal with constricted water supplies; it only makes sense to us and the City Council to stop people from being able to put grass in new homes,” said Brian Biesemeyer, the Executive Director for the City of Scottsdale Water Department.

Homes that already exist with natural grass will not be forced to replace their lawns with artificial turf, but according to Biesemeyer, the city of Scottsdale is offering a rebate program to pay citizens for replacing their lawns.

The primary focus of this ordinance is reducing water usage. According to Biesemeyer, 70% of the average home’s water usage is used on outside irrigation. The city of Scottsdale wants to cut usage on what they deem as non-essential in a front yard.

“It is only front yards, and in today’s world, that’s the more non-functioning area. People have it for looks. Most people use their backyard for play, kids tend to play in the backyard, pets tend to stay in the backyard. That’s more of a functional turf. Out front is what we classify more as a non-functional area, and that’s what we would like folks not to have,” said Biesemeyer.

As of right now, the ordinance does not affect any commercial businesses in the city of Scottsdale, though Biesemeyer noted they are researching ways to cut out “non-functional” grass across the area.

Brian Biesemeyer, Executive Director of City of Scottsdale Water Department

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