By CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) – Some state lawmakers are hoping to entice Coloradans to replace their lush lawns with something more drought friendly.

Under a bill that made it out its first committee, the state would match local turf buyout programs to help ease Colorado’s long-term drought.

(credit: CBS)

Anyone willing to convert their water-thirsty grass with more water-sustainable landscape, like native plants, would get $2 a square foot.

Lindsay Rogers with Western Resource Advocates says 50% of the water used by municipalities in Colorado is used outdoors, mostly to irrigate grass.

“I think there is a growing recognition among Coloradans around scarcity of our water resources and an understanding that we all need to do our part to conserve,” Rogers said.

The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Dylan Roberts and state Rep. Marc Catlin. Roberts says the program is voluntary but he’s hoping more local governments see the benefit of turf replacement.

“Driving down the highway and the medians with the lush grass that nobody ever gets to sit on anyway. There’s no need to have grass there. And if can save some water and help the agriculture industry, especially on the Western Slope, then it’s a win-win for everybody,” he said.

The bill allocates $4 million for grants to municipalities, counties, individuals and businesses that participate. Lawmakers will revisit the program after two years and, based on interest, decide whether to continue it.

Shaun Boyd