AURORA, Colo. — If a new proposal by Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman is voted in by the Aurora City Council, it would prohibit grass in common areas, medians, and curbside landscape.
This would only impact newly built homes and would allow up to 45% or 500 square feet of grass in backyards — whichever is less.
"No new golf courses, no turf areas that are what we call ornamental or aesthetic or non-functioning," Coffman said. "No water features, whether ponds or fountains and very aggressive when it comes to commercial properties, single-family homes."
The water conservation proposal has people talking around town.
"I believe in water conservation, however this isn’t Arizona. We live in the high desert," said John Allen, who was out playing golf.
The ongoing threat of grassland fires led Chris Slocum and his family to decide to move away from Colorado in the coming weeks.
"We were kind of thinking long term because we love Colorado, but let’s be honest, the fires are starting to get a little out of control," Slocum said as he was getting ready to tee off.
That is why Slocum said he supports the mayor's water conservation proposal.
"Personally, I think lawns are a waste. You could easily use that land to grow food, or have xeriscape," Slocum said.
Greg Baker with Aurora Water said the city uses about 16 billion gallons of water per year. Half of that is used for outdoor irrigation and can’t be reused.
"Right now, we can meet our needs for our current customers, but if you want to build more development, if you want to make housing more affordable, you have to bring that water in," Baker said. "So, that's really what it comes down to. We're kind of in an existential crisis in Colorado."
People who are interested in getting rid of their grass lawns can also benefit from the city’s rebate program.
"I think this is going to be a blueprint for the state of Colorado — that water-wise or geoscape landscaping can be very attractive," Coffman said.
It's a move the mayor hopes people consider in order to conserve water for years to come.