Before I moved to the Coachella Valley, I lived in Tucson, Ariz.
One of the things I love about Tucson is that the residents there seemingly understand that they live in the desert: Outside of a few neighborhoods, lawns are the exception, not the rule; instead, residents put xeriscapes and low-water desert plantings in their yards. At our house in Tucson, our yard featured rocks, cacti and other desert vegetation. My neighbors and I got cranky when we saw someone watering a sidewalk. In other words, water was viewed as a precious resource.
But here … well, as much as I love the area, I’ve always been turned off by the fact that lawns are, in many neighborhoods, the rule, not the exception.
When my partner and I first moved here, we were in escrow for 53 days on a nice home in Cathedral City which had an epic, lawn-centered backyard. (We fell out of escrow after 53 days when the bank we were using for our mortgage decided to screw us, and we wound up scrambling to find an apartment—but that’s a story for another time.) I was always conflicted about that yard: It was gorgeous, and I loved it, but it always felt wrong to me. My partner and I discussed getting rid of the grass, and I’d like to think that we would have done so—but had we done so, ours would have been the only house within eyesight without a lush, green lawn.
Of course, water is not unlimited. Due to the pervasive drought (which some people believe is less of a “drought” and more of a “new normal” due to climate change), state and local jurisdictions are finally cracking down and instituting severe water restrictions. Let’s just hope it’s not too little, too late.
Our Kevin Fitzgerald recently brought you the latest news on local water restrictions—watch CVIndependent.com for updates. We also recently published a story about the pros and cons of using a more market-based approach when it comes to water rights; consider it food for thought.
Of course, water issues will continue to be a coverage-focus area for us here at the Independent—just as they have been from Day 1. Our goal is to keep you informed—and perhaps play a part, albeit a small part, in changing the culture here in the Coachella Valley. We live in a desert, folks, and we need to act like it.
By the way, our May 2015 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent is on newsstands now. Pick one up, and enjoy.