Grass becomes rare luxury amid drought in Chile

STORY: Grass is becoming a rare luxury in Chile's capital

Location: Santiago, Chile

A decade-long drought

has forced the city to roll out emergency measures to limit water use

and led authorities and landscapers to replace green plants with desert flora

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HEAD OF GREEN AREAS IN THE CITY'S UP-MARKET DISTRICT OF PROVIDENCIA, VALENTINA VEGA, SAYING:

"2021 was one of the driest years in Chile's history. Providencia has 730,000 square meters of green spaces, most of them with grass. The grass is one of the most water-consuming species, consuming around six liters per square meter. Most of these 730,000 square meters were composed of grass. We made a diagnosis, and many parts of these grass areas were ornamental and not functional."

The local government plans to transform spaces alongside roads and highways

from green spaces into sustainable gardens

with plants that consume little water and use drip irrigation

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HEAD OF GREEN AREAS IN THE CITY'S UP-MARKET DISTRICT OF PROVIDENCIA, VALENTINA VEGA, SAYING:

"It saves almost 90% of water compared to a traditional landscaping system."

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