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Colorado enacts bill to ban watering of nonfunctional turf

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Senate Bill 24-005 will ban the installation, planting or placement of “nonfunctional turf“, artificial turf or invasive plant species on commercial, institutional and industrial properties.

Colorado recently enacted Senate Bill 24-005 which will ban the installation, planting or placement of “nonfunctional turf,“ artificial turf or invasive plant species on commercial, institutional and industrial properties.

The action is part of a broader initiative to encourage water-wise landscaping principles, acknowledging the increasing pressure on the state’s water resources due to climate change and rising demand, according to the bill’s text.

The legislation provides definitions to guide compliance, including terms such as “applicable property,” which covers commercial, institutional or industrial properties, among others, but explicitly excludes residential properties. “Functional turf,” as defined in the bill, refers to turf used for recreational purposes.

Starting Jan. 1, 2026, local entities within Colorado must adhere to the new guidelines, ensuring that any new development or redevelopment project on applicable properties excludes nonfunctional turf, artificial turf or invasive plant species. Additionally, the Department of Personnel will follow similar restrictions for state facility projects beginning Jan. 1, 2025.

While the bill sets forth these new standards, it also provides exemptions for the maintenance of existing installations before the specified dates. It also allows for the use of native grasses and sods that are better suited for arid conditions and grants local entities the flexibility to impose stricter regulations if desired.

Senate Bill 24-005 will take effect following the 90 days post-final adjournment of the general assembly, with provisions in place for a referendum challenge. If such a challenge occurs, the bill’s implementation will be determined by the Nov. 2024 general election outcome.

LM Staff

LM Staff

Landscape Management's staff brings together collective experience in journalism, research, writing, and editing. Our team stays tapped into the pulse of the industry, covering a wide range topics with a commitment to delivering compelling stories and high-quality content.

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