Reduce Outdoor Water Use

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It takes a lot of water to keep grass green in the middle of a desert. Worse, sprinklers water more than just the lawn.


Startling Stats

  • Every year, nearly 50% of California’s drinkable water is used outdoors – most of it, to water lawns.
  • In the central valley and desert regions, that number grows to 70-80% during summer months.
  • Most of the water poured onto lawns was pumped out of the ground or transported very long distances, and then treated to drinking water standards before it was delivered to your home.
  • It takes about 42 gallons per year to keep just one square foot of grass green. Even a very small yard 20′ x 10′ – 200 square feet – will need about 8,400 gallons per year to stay green.
  • The water that we use for watering lawns is very high in energy and greenhouse gases.

[/one_third][one_third]Things We Can Do TODAY

  • Turn off the sprinklers this summer and let the grass go brown.  Lawns are very thirsty. They also come back when the rains come. So save the little water we have this summer for more important things – like trees.
  • Thin out over-crowded gardens.  Many mature gardens are overgrown. The plants will be healthier and use less water if you reduce the crowding.
  • Replace grass with paved walkways and other interesting landscaping designs that don’t drink water.  This is the perfect time to consider adding architectural elements to your gardens.
  • Reduce water waste. If you must water, water smart: water by hand, water sparingly, and don’t water the sidewalk and gutters.


As you take action, remember to save the trees – they help to keep temperatures cool by providing shade on hot summer days, while also reducing greenhouse gases. Check out these tips from CalFire on how to care for your trees during the drought.


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