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New report: Water Conservation by the Yard estimates savings from outdoor watering restrictions

Posted By Karen E. Menard, Wednesday, September 2, 2015

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Education Division – Consumer Outreach Committee Blog

 

       

 All Things H2O                                    September 2015

 

New report: Water Conservation by the Yard

estimates savings from outdoor watering restrictions

 

Drought is nothing new to Texans; it is frequent and inevitable, yet unpredictable. Proactive planning for drought today helps stretch our precious water resources for drier days, and helps keep our rivers sufficiently flowing to protect the fish and wildlife of Galveston Bay and connecting bayous.

Since outdoor water use is largely discretionary, outdoor restrictions are a first line of defense when drought is looming. However, increasingly, outdoor watering restrictions that were once seen as a drought measure are now being included as ongoing water conservation measures. To aid this transition in implementing outdoor water restrictions as conservation methods, the Texas Living Waters Project developed a recent report, Water Conservation by the Yard, which details the potential water savings from adopting a year round no more than twice per week outdoor irrigation program. Watering no more than twice per week provides adequate moisture to maintain a lawns appearance. In fact, during times of above average rainfall, additional outdoor watering may not be required to support an outdoor landscape, especially one that contains non-native plants that are not well adapted to Texas’ diverse climate.

While there is no substitute for water smart landscaping (landscaping that will reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental watering), outdoor watering restrictions often yield the greatest proportion of water savings. As a region, the greater Houston-Galveston area, can save up to 62,348 acre-feet of water (1 acre-foot of water is about enough water to supply two to three families of four for a year) per year based on projected 2060 water use levels, or about 20 billion gallons.

Why focus on the lawn?

In Texas, outdoor water use, particularly lawn watering, accounts for almost one third of annual residential water use, and can be much higher during hot, dry summers. In addition, homeowners have a tendency to overwater landscapes by as much as 2 to 3 times the amount needed.

Watering the lawn less frequently not only helps stretch our current water supplies, but also creates a hardier lawn. Less irrigation forces the plant roots to grow deeper.  Deeper roots provide more structure to the soil and hold more water, which allows lawns to better survive the drought.

 

Save water for wildlife by giving sprinklers a rest

In the greater Houston area, most of the water used for drinking, cooking, bathing, and watering lawns comes from the rivers and bayous that flow into Galveston Bay. There are few things that have a greater impact on the rivers and bayous flowing into Galveston Bay than how we choose to supply and manage water for human purposes. Giving the sprinklers a rest reduces additional pumping or water diversions that further reduce the amount of water available to support fish and wildlife habitat in our rivers, bayous, and Galveston Bay. 

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The Texas Living Waters Project is a joint effort of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club and National Wildlife Federation as well as our regional partner, Galveston Bay Foundation. Together, we work to transform the way Texas manages water to better protect our springs, rivers and estuaries to meet the water needs of Texas and future generations of Texans.

For more information about the Galveston Bay Foundation, please contact:

Emily Seldomridge, Ph.D.

Water Policy and Outreach Specialist

Office: 281-332-3381 x218

eseldomridge@galvbay.org

 

 

 

  

Tags:  water conservation by the yard 

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