Utah Lawns Being Allowed to Turn Brown

Utah Lawns Being Allowed to Turn Brown

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John Daley reporting Once the capital of green grass in the desert, Utah is beginning to embrace less thirsty landscapes, even letting once emerald lawns, turn to brown.

Now, in the fifth year of a grueling drought, it seems the "water wise" concept has become popular with government agencies and homeowners alike.

Something Utahns are seeing a lot more than ever is the lawns alongside streets, freeways, even the airport allowed to get brown, rather than using lots of water to keep them green.

The area near the entrance to the airport is currently scheduled to be part of new construction in the coming months. Later it-will be re-landscaped with water-wise plants. But until the bulldozers come, rather than water it, airport officials decided to turn the sprinklers off here altogether.

It seems to reflect a larger change in attitudes about water.

Consider a new Salt Lake restaurant--whose newly-installed landscape is part lawn--part rock. Or take a look at the homes around your neighborhood.

At the corner of 5th Avenue and G in the Avenues--one lawn has been replaced with the gravel and desert plant "Arizona" look. Across the street neighbors on both sides are converting parking strips to more waterwise landscapes, or they're simply cutting back on watering, letting the lawn go dry.

Just a few blocks away crews are transforming the former lawn at the Ball home.

James Ball/Avenues Resident: "Well we’re trying to put in just a garden to get rid of the lawn which seems to be a water-eater. We do plan to put in some flowering plants which use some water.”

The new look includes river rocks, a flagstone walkway and a slew of new water-wise plants that need a fraction of the water of the average lawn.

Shon Hiatt/Hiatt Landscaping: "I think people are getting a little bit spooked, as am I. I like to fish and fishing is going downhill, so I think so and I hope so."

Water officials say the key is reducing how much water you use. Studies show most people water their lawns much more than they need.

Whether you ever replace any of your lawn or not--they say--it's definitely possible to get by using less.

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