Six years ago, I traded a house with a big grassy yard for one landscaped with gravel and cactuses. I’ve held on to the memories of tea time on the lawn with my daughter and our barefoot games of chase on the prickly turf, cool even on the hottest days in Phoenix. Opinions to start the day, in your inbox. Sign up. But whenever I feel nostalgic, I think about a monthly water bill that could push $400. I also think about the waste. Growing grass in the parched Southwest is an act of defiance — against nature and common sense.
-Written by Fernanda Santos, a Washington Post contributing columnist and a journalism professor at Arizona State University.