“If you make it easy to conserve water, they will do it,” he said. “If you make it really difficult, then they will come back to it when they have time. That is the reason that so many people continue with their current landscaping year after year. It takes time to make changes.”
Pollan and other writers have traced our modern idea of a lawn to the early 17th century. In at least one telling, aristocrats wanted clearings around their castles for defensive purposes. They either had animals graze it or dispatched servants with scythes to keep the grasses low.
“It’s not about drought years,” says Eagle River Water and Sanitation District’s general manager. “It’s about a drying climate. We have to get people to shift their attitudes, to know that water is getting to be more scarce.”
Like weekly haircuts for men, a regularly mowed lawn of Kentucky bluegrass was long a prerequisite for civic respectability in Colorado’s towns and cities. That expectation has begun shifting.
In the Yampa River valley, this designation would primarily impact new residential wells located on lots less than 35 acres and wells used for purposes other than domestic uses.
Denver Water may offer lessons useful to water managers, who will be dealing with impacts from the East Troublesome Fire for years, perhaps decades.
“We hope these actions help alleviate the depth and severity of ranchers being curtailed and allow some of them to turn their pumps back on to grow more forage before winter,” says a Colorado River District official.
The Yampa can drop in late summer and drought years but water now consumed by power plants in Craig and Hayden could boost flows.
Working for better outcomes in the wake of transmountain diversions
When scientists and volunteer assistants wrapped up their excavation of the Ziegler Reservoir in 2011 to ride triumphantly in Aspen’s Fourth of July parade, they left untouched 90 percent of the deposits congealed in peat and clay.