Not too long from now as states fight over water rights and permanent water restrictions are put into place across the country, people are going to look back, think about the lawns everyone had and just shake their heads in dismay by how wasteful we were. Across the country as we are faced with droughts, lakes drying up, and disappearing aquifers, there are increasing calls for rethinking the way we manage our water. Lawns need to go, and it’s time we start talking about it.
Just how much water do we use to keep our grass green in the America? The answer is roughly nine billion gallons. If you are like me, you are thinking, “What? Nine billion gallons?” Well guess what? That’s not nine billion gallons a year. We use nine billion gallons of water to keep that lawn pretty every day. To put that into perspective, the average 21 foot swimming with a depth of 48 inches holds 13,500 gallons of water. Nine billion gallons of water would fill roughly 667,000 swimming pools- every day, day after day.
It’s time to start having a national conversation about landscaping. California, suffering its worst drought in decades, began a “turf replacement rebate”. This rebate program essentially offered residents $2 a square foot to rip up the grass and replace it with a sustainable alternative. The program is elective, but we need to start asking what we can do as a nation to protect our fresh water supplies.
As a nation we need to take a hard look at the crops we grow, resources spent on meat production, the lawns we decorate our neighborhoods with, and the golf courses we pour a public resource into for the enjoyment of the few. What is sustainable, and what isn’t? We are running out of water largely due to a lack of sustainability in our planning. There are so many alternatives to grass, it’s time for us to start using our heads instead of the hose.
Why have a lawn anyway when these alternatives show that real personality and style come out when you graduate from the blank green palette…