LA halts subsidies for plastic lawns

Originally published at:


Interesting … In some areas of the US it’s illegal to retain rainwater.


That’s not really true. As of 2014, only Colorado banned collecting rainwater by individuals, and maybe Nevada depending on who you ask. It is now legal in Colorado.


they should consider making concrete transparent

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LA halts subsidies for plastic lawns

Sadly, I might add.


My mistake then. I had read where some farms or ranches had been fined for collecting rainwater from their gutters. That it is now legal is good but it still demonstartes some people’s thinking that such collection should be illegal.


Kind of where it starts to make sense is for companies with a lot of area they can use to collect water off. Parking lots or big buildings. Retaining the water for their own use without putting back in the aquifer is a net negative for the environment. Especially if otherwise they would have had to pay for their water use.

They’d be taking out of the system they’re incidentally benefiting from without contributing.


It is generally illegal in Australia. If you own a farm you don’t own the water which falls on your land. You must allow it to join a watershed for use by others.

Of course this doesn’t really apply in metropolitan areas where collected water is of less value due to pollution.

I read that in Melbourne, water tanks were initially made illegal when reticulated water became available and few people used it because tank water was cheaper. Then more recently tanks were legalized well after they had been unofficially condoned by government and about five minutes before the same government started subsidizing them.


This isn’t plastic. No, I haven’t had any work done. Just good genes I suppose.


In Los Angeles, new commercial development is required to deal with its own runoff and not dump it into the storm drain system.

That can include rain barrels and cisterns to collect water for later irrigation, but it mostly consists of having planters, swales and detention basins that let the water soak into the ground rather than run off.

Also, here in LA, collecting local rain for almost any purpose that displaces the use of tap water is a net win, since most of our tap water is imported. (We can’t use much of our most important local aquifer, because it was contaminated in the process of building about half of the air armada that destroyed Nazi Germany.)

But even if the aquifer is undrinkable, using rainwater for landscape irrigation is a Good Thing here. LA is NOT a desert, and we don’t need landscapers trying to turn it into one. We’ve already paved over far too much of the local biome.


I remember being astonished when driving around the west end of Molokai and seeing that someone had planted a saguaro cactus on a desolate hillside. It must have been happy there, because it was about 10 feet tall. Now I have one that I am growing; in the past 3 years it has doubled in size from tennis ball sized to softball sized, and is starting to grow upward.

Saguaros, because of their very slow growth and propagation rate, are probably never going to be an invasive species.


I really don’t understand blindly restricting rainwater collection. If I were to do that and use it to water my plants or flush the toilet or wash the dishes it goes right into the aquifer either through the ground or through my septic. I’ve only borrowed it for a short period.

How is collecting rainwater any different from my well?


That’s the part of water retention I think is extremely often positive. I’m not up for research at the moment but I don’t think even Colorado objected to, essentially, using rainfall directly as irrigation.

Even replacing tap water, I’m ok with at consumer levels. Car washes on the other hand …

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In LA, car washes are required to recycle their water. Going to the car wash uses far less water than hand-washing your car at home.

Not washing a car will result in a crustmobile. Six months with no rainfall at all is not uncommon here (that’s the annual “drought” in “drought-tolerant plantings”), and the amount of rain that does fall in the winter rainy season may not be enough to wash away the accumulated crust.

[Don’t ask me how I know this. (-: ]


If I’m reading this, then the only option left is ass? Right. LETS ALL END THIS DROUGHT NOW! /me drops trou


In urban areas, you’re right.

In rural areas, overly-enthusiastic rainfall collection can create an artificial drought for your downstream neighbours.

Back during the 90’s drought, upstream irrigators in western NSW were sucking up so much water that the Darling River started running backwards. This was particularly catastrophic for the downstream indigenous communities who relied upon river fishing for a significant portion of their food supply.


That is only what they want you to think. Then one day, you wake up to this outside your gated community, and the rest of your day goes down hill real fast.


Mostly because the people who got the restriction put in place were using it for much greater than personal use.

Yeah, I am pretty sure the only rules were about collecting or redirecting runoff, not simply letting the rain water plants directly. Of course if you are doing major construction, moving earth, digging ditches, pouring concrete, or similar, you are going to have to get a building permit and environmental impact will be a part of that.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend drinking from a rain barrel, nor would I shower with it. I am sure it is possible to operate one in a safe fashion, but I wouldn’t really count on most people doing it properly.

At the point you describe from NSW then that’s hoarding.

I guess I’m too innocent or naive to have imagined that.

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