There are more than 80 million home lawns in the United States. Lawns are grass, and they are supposed to be green, right? Well, yes they do help in reducing CO2 from the air and help cool the surroundings just like other plants, but the problem is, they need a lot of water to do a fraction of what other plants can do. A small to mid size (1000 square feet) lawn needs around 500 litres of water per day. The World Health Organization recommends 500 litres of water as the average water requirement per day for a small family. Extreme heat, drought and rampant use of water by industries have led to water shortages in many parts of the world. And it is safe to say that everyone is aware of why we should save water.
So What’s Better?
It is much better to plant bigger trees in place of lawns, ones that do not need watering after a certain while and provide better shade and remove much more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Chandigarh, California and a few other places have implemented ban on watering lawns and washing cars during peak water crisis.
Yes, we know that trees are not a practical replacement for a lush carpet-like lawn. However, there are varieties of grass that are drought resistant and can survive with little or no water for some time. Bermuda grass, Floratam grass, Buffalo grass are a few such types. Check with your local nursery for the type of grass that would grow well with less water in your soil and climatic conditions.
How You Can Save Water With Lawns
- Have a smaller lawn with drought resistant grass that needs very less water
- Do not waste fresh water for watering lawns. Use grey water from baths, washes, kitchen or rainwater for the grass.
- If you have a lawn, compost your kitchen organic waste and use it as a manure for the grass instead of chemicals. You can add the cut-over grass to the composting mixture.
- Use drip irrigation or sprinklers with timers to save water.
- Water at the right time depending on your weather to minimize evaporation losses. Before sunrise and late afternoon are ideal for most places.