Bill Proposes to Limit Irrigation of Lawn Grass

A bill was recently introduced in the Colorado Legislature which would limit lawn irrigation that relies on water that is changed from agricultural irrigation.  Senate Bill 17 would prohibit a local government from approving a development permit application unless the local government approving the application has adopted an enforceable resolution or ordinance that limits the amount of irrigated grass on residential lots in the proposed development to no more than 15% of the total aggregate area of all residential lots in the development.  The bill would apply only if any part of the water supply for the development is changed from agricultural irrigation use on or after January 1, 2016, and would not apply to irrigation with raw water.  Senate Bill 17 was introduced by Senators Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, and Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, and is being sponsored in the House by Representatives Ed Vigil, D-Fort Garland, and Don Coram, R-Montrose.  According to Senator Roberts, the bill was “developed to address the widespread concern that our state is rapidly losing land in agricultural production due to municipalities buying the water rights for their growth.”