New Nevada Law Requires the Removal of “useless” AKA “decorative” Grass

Las Vegas: Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak (Steve Sisolak), with the assistance of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, signed a bill that requires the entire Las Vegas Valley by the end of 2026 to remove “useless” or purely ornamental natural grasses, due to severe drought. This law does not apply to lawns in home gardens or lawns used for recreational purposes in schools and parks.

Unused grass, also called non-functional or useless grass, is found in shopping malls and plazas (including hotels and resorts), homeowners association streets, and central and roundabouts in Southern Nevada. This grass provides no real value, it is useless. No one uses it for sports, picnics, or other leisure activities. Some non-functional grass areas are just long and narrow grass areas lining parking lots, sidewalks, and walkways. These narrow strips of ornamental grass produce excessive water waste.

Landscaping in the Field of Commercial Real Estate

Other examples of useless grass lawns can be found on the road between the roadside and the sidewalk; in roundabouts and in the middle; in office parks and commercial facilities, and at the entrance of residential areas.

If the only person using the lawn is the one pushing the lawnmower, it is considered useless grass.

It is estimated that there are approximately 5,000 acres of non-functional grass in southern Nevada. The water waste grass in the Las Vegas Valley is approximately 12 billion gallons of water each year, accounting for more than 10% of all water released by the Colorado River, which is the allocated amount for drinking water in Southern Nevada. By removing the grass and replacing it with water-smart landscaping, such as artificial turf and/or drought-tolerant plants, we can save the Nevada community about 9.5 billion gallons of water each year.

In the Las Vegas Valley, water is a limited resource, so protecting and conserving it is the top priority for everyone living here. Due to the prolonged drought, the water level at Lake Mead is expected to drop to the lowest level in history in 2021. The Bureau of Reclamation announced that Lake Mead has officially dropped to the lowest water level since the Hoover Dam was first filled in 1936. When the water level reaches 1,221.4 feet above sea level, Lake Mead is defined as “full of water.” It is currently 1,071.53 feet above sea level and has a capacity of 36%. This will force the federal government to announce the first water shortage along the Colorado River, which will reduce Nevada’s water allocation by approximately 7 billion gallons.

Time for Change

This new legislation prohibits the use of Colorado River water for irrigation to nearly 4,000 acres of non-functioning, useless grass lawns after January 1, 2027. According to recommendations, the five-year period before the deadline for the removal of turf will ensure that the community achieves sustainable water use in landscaping and allows for the opportunity to obtain community feedback and comments.

Local resorts use approximately 4% of the Las Vegas water supply, which means that the water is only used once and will not be recycled. In addition, new resorts must submit a water efficiency plan to promote effective water management practices. The tourism industry uses less than half of Nevada’s 1% water supply and employs approximately 21% of the state’s labor force. MGM Resorts International has switched and renovated over 200,000 square feet of real, useless grass to artificial turf or desert-friendly landscape to greatly decrease the amount of water it consumes (water that does not return to the source).

It is a common misconception that golf courses (along with resorts) consume large amounts of community water, mainly due to the high profile of these sectors. In fact, golf courses use approximately 6% of community water, in comparison to the 60% used by local residents.

The best way to help these efforts in conserving water is to take matters into your own hands. Consider switching to an artificial turf lawn to conserve our water. This will not only help reduce water waste, but will also help you save money on your utility bills while looking green, fresh, and vibrant for many years. Whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor (or are a contractor providing installation services), the Southern Nevada Water Authority will reimburse single-family homes for $3 per square foot for removing natural grass, up to the first 10,000 square feet for $1.50 per square meter. (Certain restrictions apply.) We have the widest artificial turf selection in Las Vegas, Texas, California, Arizona, and Florida. So when looking to purchase artificial turf for your landscape, keep in mind that wholesale and retail DIY customers are always welcome at Turf Envy.