Colorado’s increasing drought and water scarcity concerns recently received bipartisan support through a bill enabling the Colorado Water Conservation Board to develop a statewide program providing financial incentives for voluntary replacement of irrigated turf with water-wise landscaping.
Some 25% of Coloradans live in a community with a turf replacement incentive program, says Lindsay Rogers, Western Resource Advocates water policy analyst. The bill covers the entire state beginning with $2 million from the general fund with future expansion goals.
“This bill–and the broader need to transition to more Colorado-appropriate landscaping from the start for new homes–is an important step towards improving our communities’ water resiliency in the face of climate change and population growth,” said Rogers.
Rogers noted the bill does not provide similar financial incentives for new development “because installing water efficient landscaping from the start is more cost-effective than retrofitting turfgrass landscapes–something homebuilders should communicate to residents.”
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Rogers added that those interested in water and energy savings are motivated to purchase homes with water-wise landscaping, even with more expensive upfront costs.
Homebuilders help by ensuring landscape and irrigation system designers and installers are certified, such as with Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper certification, she said.