Nonfunctional turf deadline now just three years out

The deadline for commercial properties across Southern Nevada to upgrade their nonfunctional, decorative grass is creeping ever closer.

A state law passed in 2021 prohibits the use of Colorado River water to irrigate nonfunctional, decorative turf starting Jan. 1, 2027. Businesses, HOAs and other non-single-family properties across the valley have already taken a large step towards compliance with the law, having converted more than 10 million square feet of turf to drought-friendly landscaping in just the last two years alone.

There is still a substantial amount of turf that needs to be removed before that deadline arrives, and costs for plant materials and landscape installations could rise as conversion projects continue to ramp up over the next three years. Cash incentives provided through the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Water Smart Landscapes (WSL) rebate program are available for such commercial conversion projects so act now.

Businesses are eligible for a cash rebate of $3 per square foot through the WSL rebate program. The program provides $3 per square foot for the first 10,000 square feet of converted turf, and $1.50 per square foot thereafter.

For Southern Nevada, grass irrigation remains the largest consumptive use of water from the Colorado River, which provides 90 percent of our water supplies. Despite last year’s great winter, the river will remain in a federally declared shortage condition in 2024.

Once fully implemented, the law will help Southern Nevada save 9.5 billion gallons of water annually. Additional information about both Nevada law and the SNWA’s Water Smart Landscapes rebate program is available at

State law prohibits the use of Colorado River water to irrigate decorative, nonfunctional turf on commercial properties across Southern Nevada starting Jan. 1, 2027.