Las Vegas has a lot of things going for it. We live in a beautiful city that offers it’s residents unlimited opportunities for cultural and entertainment activities, hiking, biking and exploring. One thing that Las Vegas lacks is water, lets face it we live in a desert. As a matter of fact the only reason that Las Vegas became what it currently is today is because we live in a desert. The early pioneers came across the desert from the east coast on their way to California, and found many days of traveling across the hot and dry desert to be quite difficult. As a result of the need, a small settlement happened in the Las Vegas valley, catering to providing rest and shelter to travelers as they made their way across. Over time this grew and grew, providing all of the things that could not be found for many miles around, including gambling. The casino business took hold, and over time the gambling houses became themed hotels where travelers would find a welcomed reprieve from the desert heat. The concept of the “oasis in the desert” took hold, and eventually each casino and hotel was outdoing each other to present themselves as the place to be. This involved creating a landscape that was totally unnatural for the area, bringing in tropical plants and creating water features where there was no water. As more money flowed into the area, the ability to overcome the challenges that the desert presented were overtaken, artificial sources of water were created, and even home owners began to create their own “oasis in the desert” by landscaping their spaces with plants that have no ability to survive without artificial irrigation systems. Having a lawn in Las Vegas 100 years ago would be unheard of, but today it is commonplace.
This is changing rapidly however, as the realization that even if you do have the money you may not have the resources is setting in. Over the course of the last 10 years there has been inadequate rainfall to fill Lake Mead to a level that can guarantee drinking water for all residents. This means that watering restrictions have been imposed on residents in order to conserve water, and even if you do have the money to water your lawn enough to keep it green, it is not legal to do so. The county prioritizes citizens over plants, which means that you are not allowed to waste water even if you can afford to do so. The county has provided incentives to remove your lawn and replace it with a water smart ground covering like desert landscaping or synthetic grass, that incentive being 2 dollars per square foot that is removed and replaced by a licensed contractor. Whether you like it or not, Las Vegas is returning to the type of environment that it is naturally, a desert landscape. This can be just as beautiful as a lawn, and many times be even more dramatic and comfortable, but it is no longer fashionable to waste water on grass that is not natural. Be a good citizen and save some money at the same time by switching to synthetic grass or crushed rock.