Lawn limits considered, then rejected in Colorado

DENVER — Colorado lawmakers today backed off a plan to conserve water by limiting the size of lawns in new developments, avoiding a clash between developers and environmentalists as the state tries to deal with limited water and a booming population.

Sen. Ellen Roberts, a Durango Republican, argued her case today before a Dust-Bowl-era photo of southeast Colorado and charts showing the state’s population. The Dust Bowl, which hit Colorado, Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle in the early 1930s, was caused by improper farming practices and forced thousands from their homes.

Roberts argued that the lawn limits would help acclimate newcomers and force them to discover drought-tolerant plants better suited to Colorado’s semi-arid climate.

“It’s not the same thing as growing a lawn in Oregon or Pennsylvania,” she said.

But Roberts ran into opposition from her own party. Other Republicans said the lawn limit idea was too heavy-handed on local governments, which control zoning and local land use. And some argued the bill improperly targeted residential water use but not agricultural water use.


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