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Tucson bans turf for some new developments

The Tucson City Council unanimously approved a ban on non-functional grass plantings on all new developments except single-family homes, with little debate, let alone opposition.

The Congress also unanimously approved Tuesday night a new requirement requiring developers to install federally approved water-saving devices in all new developments, including single-family homes.

Both actions are part of a broad and ongoing effort by the City Council and city officials generally to strengthen Tucson’s water conservation efforts in the face of the ongoing drought and water crisis on the Colorado River. Several other conservation measures are being considered by Tucson water officials, but have not yet been submitted to the council for final consideration.

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The lawn ban has received a lot of attention since it was first proposed last year by Third District Councilor Kevin Dahl. But a memo from city officials to Congress shows little to no opposition, even among the developers and their various interest groups. It was previously unanimously recommended by the City Planning Commission.

In general, the ordinance prohibits the planting of grass on non-single-family housing developments, including for recreational purposes, when it is clearly not functioning. It does not affect existing or future uses of artificial turf. It affects all forms of commercial and industrial development, not just “common areas” in apartment projects.

Specifically, the ordinance defines non-functional turf as follows:

A lawn area with a single dimension of 8 feet or less.

Grass areas above 25% slope. A measurement based on the slope of the landscape relative to the road.

Lawn areas inaccessible by paved walkways or restricted by physical barriers that prohibit access.

Lawn areas located less than 10 feet apart from the street and/or front door of a residential area or subdivision, unless associated with active recreational activity.

Lawn areas not used for active recreational purposes.

Dahl told The Star on Wednesday that a ban on dead lawns in new single-family homes will be discussed as Congress moves into phase two of tackling the lawn problem.

“In a residential setting it is harder to tell if the lawn is not working compared to a commercial setting. ‘ he said. “On a slope so huge that you can’t even walk on it, it’s just decoration.

“We’re going to look at residential lawns. Maybe incentives are the best way to go. City officials have had more time to look at that possibility,” he said.

Tucson Water staff will also consider future requirements and potential incentives for removing existing non-functioning grass.

Regarding plumbing regulations, all new developments are required to meet the following water usage limits from “water sensing” installations as required by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Toilet — 1.28 gallons per flush.

Faucet — 60 pounds per square inch of pressure and 1.5 gallons of water per minute.

Urinals — 0.5 gallons per flush.

Showerhead — 2 gallons per minute.

Tucson City Manager Michael Ortego told the city council in a note Tuesday that the water and energy savings caused by using water-saving equipment will also reduce costs for customers.

“EPA estimates that the cost of the toilet alone will save customers more than $140 a year, and more than $2,900 over the life of the toilet,” Ortega wrote. “Combined with a number of other facilities, the short-term and long-term cost savings are substantial.”

Ortega said the city government will also benefit from increased water efficiency from new developments. Infrastructure requirements to accommodate new growth could be reduced as water use becomes more efficient, but “he cannot achieve this with just one measure,” Ortega wrote. I’m here.

Both proposals received extensive and mostly uncritical consideration by various interest groups and city advisory boards.

Eric Wiedewurt, deputy director of the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Authority, said in an email to Tucson water officials on April 18 that he is looking forward to seeing these ordinances come into effect.

“Declining water demand will have some impact on wastewater transport and treatment, but we can’t wait any longer for communities to start taking strong steps towards net zero urban water. As time goes on, we will address wastewater challenges,” Wiedewurt wrote to power company Candice Rupprecht.

“Keeping informed (wastewater), both at the start of new initiatives and when engaging in ongoing data analysis and performance measurement, will help us understand changing water demands and the associated wastewater We can stay on top of potential impacts,” says Wiedewurt.

Wiedewurt said some officials routinely state that reducing water inflow to sewers for conservation could increase the percentage of solids in sewers and clog operations. I was talking about concerns.

At the city council meeting on Tuesday, public comment on either ordinance came only from former state Rep. Tom Prezelski, who supports a ban on dead lawns. He was the president of Rural Action Arizona, which works on behalf of rural communities, but he said, “There is a water crisis in Arizona.

“This problem is much bigger than in Tucson. There are areas in this state that just don’t have enough water for future development,” Prezelski said, adding that such findings for Pinal County and parts of the Phoenix area. The Arizona Department of Water Resources reported that

In rural areas, water supplies are threatened by “large-scale industrial farming”. He said.

“The time has long passed for us to take this matter seriously. This body deserves credit for doing so. Everything that is done regarding this matter is important to this entire state. Payroll It’s just a basic and responsible act of removing water sources and not wasting them,” Prezelski said.

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