A Bucket of (water) Savings

Storm moving in_XG_20090826_LAH_9761Where’s the rain? Colorado, like much of the nation, is experiencing a severe drought. Last year brought us only half our average precipitation, and the preceding years haven’t been much better. Even the April storms we’ve had won’t eliminate the need for the water rationing that started April 1 here in Colorado Springs. Looking ahead to summer, we might be feeling a down. Who likes a brown lawn?

We garden for pleasure, to make our yards look attractive, or to provide fresh, healthy food that supplements what we buy at the grocery store. Farmers and ranchers, on the other hand, raise food for their livelihood—and so we’ll have something to buy at when we go shopping. A lack of water can be catastrophic, not only for their bank accounts, but for all of us who depend on their products.

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Xeriscaping: Just Enough Lawn

What would happen if you turned on the tap and no water came out? We are accustomed to having water on demand, but here in the west, the truth is that we are slowly running out. As communities grow, increased demand on both surface water and aquifers will eventually lead to rationing and other restrictions. In some places, that has already happened.

Since landscapes consume far more water than household use, your yard is the best place to conserve.

Lawns are the thirstiest part of most landscapes, so let’s start there. Frequently, homeowners plant turf because they don’t know what else to do, or because they’ve always done it that way. A wall-to-wall carpet of grass might work in Virginia, but is it appropriate in Colorado?

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