Reduce Your Outdoor Water Use
The average American household uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 30 percent of which is devoted to outdoor uses. More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens. Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for nearly one-third of all residential water use, totaling nearly 9 billion gallons per day.
"as much as 50 percent of water used for irrigation is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems"
Outdoor water use varies greatly depending upon geographic location. In dry climates such as the Southwest, a household's outdoor water use can be as high as 60 percent. In addition, some experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of water used for irrigation is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems.
It's usually not necessary to water grass every day. Instead, test your lawn by stepping on a patch of grass; if it springs back, it doesn't need water. Further your water savings by using regionally appropriate plants to create a water-smart landscape that is both beautiful and efficient to achieve the curb appeal you desire. Once established, native plants require little water beyond normal rainfall.
What can we do to lessen the negative impact of our irrigation?
Examine our priorities and then make the decision to go green with irrigation at home. Sustainable irrigation can have a big impact on the environment, and your water bill. Currently, residential irrigation and use of water outdoors in the landscape accounts for an average of 30% of the water consumption in the US. This figure ranges up to about 50% in the West.
So, it’s easy to see that residential irrigation is a significant player in the availability of potable water supplies. In the US this is all drinking water that is being used for watering and irrigation in residential settings. We have no widespread systems for potable and non-potable water as they do in some places in Europe.
What kinds of things affect the sustainability of residential irrigation? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) these factors are the most influential.
Efficiency of plumbing fixtures and appliances
Cost of water and sewer service
Age and lifestyle of residents
Awareness of water conservation needs
Local landscape aesthetic (e.g., tree cover)
Established versus newly planted landscapes
In addition to the annual rainfall, typical suburban lawns use approximately an additional 10,000 gallons of water. The high cost of green grass is staggering. While this news can be disheartening, there is hope for the future.
Many homeowners are now interested in learning how to go green when it comes to irrigation for the landscape and garden.
Sustainable, responsible green irrigation can be achieved through a six point approach that includes
the right plant in the right place
appropriate organic products
The facts speak for themselves. Going green with our irrigation becomes ever more important to a healthy home and environment. You can have sustainable, green irrigation that will use water resources wisely if you carefully plan and execute these six steps.
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On average, American families use about 30 percent of water per day outdoors. This amount varies widely across the United States, with some western regions using upwards of 70 percent of their water outside. In Pennsylvania, outdoor water use is generally less than 10 percent of total use except during seasonal peak use.
American families use about 30- 70% percent of water per day outdoors
Although Pennsylvanians use most of their water indoors, there are still opportunities to save water in the backyard. Landscapes with poor soils or large areas of water-intense plantings can use tremendous amounts of water. Although irrigation is not essential to maintaining a lush, green lawn in Pennsylvania, irrigation systems are still installed at many new homes and can be a large source of water waste if not properly maintained. Some experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of landscape irrigation water is wasted because of evaporation, wind, improper system design, or overwatering. Pools, spas, and ornamental water features can also waste a lot of water if not properly maintained.
Drought costs California's ag industry $2.2 billion
The Drought Monitor map of California, released on July 17, 2014.
More than 80 percent of California is in extreme or worse drought, according to the latest Drought Monitor report. No drought improvement is expected through the end of October as the prospects of a mega El Niño fizzle.
The state’s agricultural industry is being hit especially hard by the drought.
A new study released last week put a hefty price tag on the state’s drought, which has cost the state’s agricultural industry an estimated $2.2 billion and put some 17,000 agricultural workers out of the job this year.