With most of the west and the southwest experiencing the worst drought conditions in over 50 years, water conservation is top of mind.
Did you know that nearly 97 percent of the world’s water is salty or otherwise undrinkable. Another 2 percent is locked in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves just 1 percent for all of humanity’s needs-all its agricultural, manufacturing, community, and personal household needs.
So what can we do to help conserve our 1 percent within our community?
After perusing the net (90s anyone?) for a few hours, we found these great tips for indoor and outdoor water conservation.
- Use the dishwasher. Hand-washing your dishes can use up to 27 gallons of water, compared to just 3 or 4 gallons for a new Energy Star-rated dishwasher.
- Check for leaks with the toilet test. Put a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet into your toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl, your tank is leaking, silently wasting up to 100 gallons of water a day. An inexpensive rubber flapper may be all you need to fix it; just be sure the replacement flapper is made to fit your toilet’s make and model.
- Trimming just two minutes off your shower can save up to 1,750 gallons of water per person in your household each year.
- Remove your thirsty turf grass and replace it with a beautiful drought-tolerant garden that doesn’t need much water, or mowing.
This last one is a big one. According to the EPA, in dry climates such as the Southwest, a household’s outdoor water use can be as high as 60 percent.
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.
Knowing this, maintaining a luscious green Kentucky style lawn seems a bit unrealistic in times of drought.
Being the beautiful and resourceful gardeners that we are, we have options! Replacing your turf with a drought-tolerant garden is a great way to cut your water footprint and exercise your “green” thumb. And just because the grass is gone, doesn’t mean your front yard has to look like this:
With a plethora of drought-tolerant plants that don’t require much water to thrive, your lawn can be transformed into a thing of beauty, without the high water price tag.
For information on drought-tolerant plants, check out these great sites:
For more information on water conservation for your vegetable garden, check out our blog.