DENVER (KDVR) — The great American West drought is the driest it’s been in 1,200 years, but a house bill that passed through a Colorado House committee on Monday aims to help remedy this crisis.
HB22-1151 was introduced on Feb. 4 and is alternately known as the turf replacement program bill. According to the bill’s text, if passed, the Colorado Water Conservation Board would be required to create a program for Coloradans that would financially incentivize them to voluntarily replace their irrigated turf with water-wise landscaping.
According to Colorado Water-Wise, over half of all potable water in the Western U.S. is used and arguably wasted on landscapes alone. The study from the JNCC calculated that 42% of this megadrought can be attributed to human-caused climate change.
If passed, the bill would push Coloradans towards a reevaluation of what is vital when it comes to yard decor with the implementation of xeriscape.
Xeriscape is a “beautiful, water-saving approach to landscaping in our challenging climate and with our limited resources, according to Colorado Water-Wise.
The bill passed the Committee of Agriculture, Livestock & Water and still needs full approval from the House and Senate, but the drought, along with the recent Marshall Fire and record-breaking wildfire season that preceded it, could get this bill onto the Capitol floor sooner rather than later.
This bipartisan House bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Mark Catlin and Democratic Rep. Dylan Roberts, as well as Democratic Sen. Jeff Bridges and Republican Sen. Cleave Simpson.