Some might say the American dream is to live in a big house with an emerald green lawn in front and a shimmering pool out back. From a water conservation Gstandpoint, this picture seems more like a nightmare than a dream!
Maintaining a green lawn can be a huge drain of water. Irrigating just a single square foot of grass takes a little more than half a gallon of water. That means that watering a 1,000 square foot lawn requires about 660 gallons! For people living in dry regions, like the American Southwest, the quantities are even higher because grass dries out quickly and requires even more water thanks to a combination of hot temperatures, low rainfall and fast evaporation that occurs before water is absorbed.
Lawn care accounts for about one-half of household water use in the arid western United States. That’s a serious waste considering that primary water sources for the region, like the Colorado River and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, are drying up. Residents of the Southwest aren’t alone, though. Many of us across the nation water our lawns during dry spells and droughts, even though it puts additional burden on our already strained water supply. No matter where you live, it’s important to think about water conservation when you're managing your yard. When landscaping, think beyond grass, and plant more native species G that flourish in your local climate and don’t need so much water.
Swimming pools are also a major cause of outdoor water waste. It takes about 19,000 gallons of water to fill the average swimming pool and, if left uncovered, pool water can evaporate at a rate of about 1,000 gallons a month! Over the course of a year, that amount exceeds 30,000 gallons used for just one pool, on average.
There is actually a lot more water going into your pool than you realize! The electricity you use to heat your pool takes additional water because thermoelectric G power plants across the United States use billions of gallons of water each year in their cooling systems. By using a pool cover, 30-50 percent of the water otherwise evaporated can be conserved along with 50-70 percent of the heating energy lost from an uncovered pool. Using community pools is a great option, but if you've already got your own pool keep it covered when it’s not being used.
No matter how you are using water outside, a little bit of planning can save a lot of water!
Las Vegas is cracking down on thirsty lawns. The city’s water district and water authority have set limits on how many square feet of lawn each house can have, and they're even offering a rebate of $1.50 for each square foot that is switched from lawn to more climate-appropriate landscaping.