Why go green?
Irrigation is a hotly debated topic in the world of sustainable
environmental design. Many are opposed to residential irrigation as a waste of water.
This is a little extreme, since all living things need water. The question is, how can we sustainably meet our needs for water in the landscape now without endangering future needs?
The problems arose from past abuses in irrigation. We have all seen water just running down the street from improper irrigation. There used to be a seemingly unlimited supply of water, so turning on the tap to water the garden or irrigate the lawn was easy. We can’t really afford that anymore. Water quality and water supplies have been compromised.
Times have changed. Water has become a very precious commodity in recent years. When it comes to irrigation and outdoor water use, though, old habits die hard. We still turn that tap without much thought. Trying to remedy this situation is costing billions of dollars annually in the United States.
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.
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 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.