Residents should have incentives to switch to artificial turf in their garden to reduce water use, according to an Orange City councillor.
Cr Tony Mileto has asked for a report from council staff into whether a rebate system, similar to the scheme council offers to encourage people to install water tanks, could be applied for rolling out artificial turf.
He said artificial turf did not need watering or mowing and retained its looks during times of drought.
"In Orange a lot of people take a lot of pride in their yards," he said.
I would see it going in people's front yards in the first instance.Cr Tony Mileto
He said artificial turf was already used on roundabouts and intersections around Orange and in some residential gardens.
"I've seen it on our roundabouts, it looks neat," he said.
"I would see it going in people's front yards in the first instance."
Cr Mileto said he did not believe it would create water run-off issues as thin, breathable, rubber matting was available that could be used with artificial turf to allow water to seep into gardens.
He said it could also be placed on hard surfaces including concrete.
Cr Mileto said artificial turf would also help older people who were unable to mow and look after their gardens and could not afford to pay a professional gardener to tend their yards.
"It is quite appealing to a lot of people," he said.
Cr Mileto said it would be useful in newly developed housing areas.
"In the new areas the blocks are smaller than they previously were," he said.
He also said there was the potential for an industry to start recycling rubber and plastic to create artificial turf.
Cr Mileto said that might also help reduce council's costs in having to dispose of the used products.
He said he had not determined what size rebate would be appropriate for residents who used turf.
Orange City Council currently provides water tank rebates ranging from $100-$750.
It varies depending on the size of the tanks and whether the tanks are plumbed into household facilities including toilets and laundry areas.
Council community water forum meetings in Orange last month were told council was looking at increasing those rebates to encourage more residents to install water tanks.
That work is still underway and the proposal and the size of the proposed new rebate amounts has not yet been presented to a full council meeting.
It had been suggested increases of about 25 per cent were being considered for the water tank rebates.
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