So you want to be green, conserve water, contribute to the environment, and pat yourself on the back at the end of the day? Well, it’s just not that simple anymore. The Southern Utah Water Authority or SNWA, has modified their Water Smart Landscape Program to now place a “conservation” easement on your property – should you choose to participate in this program and accept their rebate for converting your grass to less water consuming landscaping. Although this easement restricts only those portions of your property where you received an incentive for landscape conversion, it’s still an easement. As you know, easements run with the land which passes on from owner to owner and applies in perpetuity. If for any reason the land that has this easement gets converted back to irrigated lawn or grass, spray irrigation systems, swimming pools, ponds, or other bodies of water or water features in any portion of the converted area, SNWA will request corrective measures or pursue legal action. How will they know, you ask? They periodically conduct “non-instrusive” inspections (satellite images and possibly other measures) to assure long-term compliance.
As a new homeowner, I eagerly sought out to use this program as most my landscaping is grass. I had participated in this program 7 years ago and appreciated the extra money in my pocket from less water use and the rebate that I received to fund my new desert landscaping. However, this new easement implementation has me stalled. I want to sell my house down the road but if I do so, I must disclose that I have an easement on my property. The rebate looks less and less appealing to me now as I make landscaping plans. How many homeowners participate in the program and willingly allow SNWA to put an easement on their property and have no idea what it really means?
This issue has been brought to the GLVAR attorney and the Board and they are addressing the issue and how it came about right under our nose and the community. I have come to the conclusion that I will not be participating in the conservation program and allowing the SNWA’s control over my land; however, I will be still removing my grass for less water consuming landscape while maintaining the integrity of my property.
Posted on February 27, 2015 by Heather Mongie