Water shortages impact lawn care across the United States.

    Published: May 18, 2015

    How Much Water Does Your Lawn Use?

    How Much Water Does Your Lawn Use?                                                  Water shortages impact lawn care across the United States.

    In some parts of the country, water shortages have led to major rationing programs, leaving many homeowners frustrated by their limited landscaping options. In some areas, over-watering has left community leaders so desperate that they’re even paying homeowners to ditch grass lawns.

    Over the past half-decade, Los Angeles has shelled out $1.4 million to homeowners who have been willing to replace their grass lawns with rock and other less-thirsty surfaces. Las Vegas has gone so far as to outlaw grass front yards in new developments and ban grass medians in favor of synthetic turf. In Austin, Texas, similar concerns have resulted in neighborhood police patrols, which often result in major fines for residents who water their lawns before nightfall.

    But is all of this really necessary? Unfortunately, when you consider how much water the average lawn requires on a daily basis to remain green, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

    Getting a Clear Perspective

    On average, each U.S. household uses around 320 gallons of water every day. Of this, approximately 30 percent—96 gallons—is dedicated to outdoor use. Around half of that is used to irrigate lawns and gardens, amounting to a total of nearly 9 billion gallons per day, nationwide.

    With that being said, outdoor water usage can vary significantly depending on the region. For example, in drier Southwest climates, the average home often dedicates about 60 percent of its daily water usage to lawn irrigation. Unfortunately, experts estimate that half of this water is usually wasted due to wind, evaporation and runoff, resulting from inefficient landscaping systems and methods.

    What Can You Do?

    If your community has placed minor restrictions on your watering privileges, you can still maintain a healthy-looking lawn by planting plants and grasses that require less water. You can also reduce your watering to provide minimum sustenance. Contrary to popular belief, most lawns don’t require daily watering. To test your grass, step on a small patch and see if it springs back at you. If it does, it requires no additional watering.

    If we all take small steps to reduce water usage, we can hopefully eliminate the need for more drastic water restrictions and cutbacks.