The Impact of Watering Lawns – 235,224,000,000,000 Gallons Per Year

Water is a precious resource, and synthetic grass is a one sure way to conserve lots of it – because, unlike a natural lawn, turf doesn’t need H2O to stay green. How much water will be saved by installing synthetic grass in your back yard, pet turf in the dog run, or performance turf at the high school football field?

Your mileage may vary; each installation includes different use, conditions and climate. But for a quantitative example, let’s choose sunny and perennially drought-stricken Southern California.

According to such authorities as the National Weather Service, Metropolitan Water District and San Diego County Water Authority, a fescue or Bermuda lawn in this region will require an average of 45 gallons per square foot per year to look green and healthy. (Amounts depend in part on location; the water demand for lawns in Palm Springs can be three times greater than in Santa Barbara.)

But wait, there’s more. Most lawns are overwatered, often twice as much as needed according to the agencies mentioned above. That’s 90 gallons per square foot. Now consider that as much as half that water is lost to evaporation. Suddenly, statistically, a square foot of sod is responsible for 135 gallons of water use in a year.

Imagine the visual: the small, 12 inch-by-12 inch patch of lawn, consuming enough water annually to nearly fill the bid of a small pickup truck’s bed. The numbers generated by synthetic grass conserving water are also remarkable: a backyard with 500 square feet of natural grass, drinking 67,500 gallons of water annually, enough to fill three swimming pools. Or, not drinking – nada agua — when turf is substituted.

Does immediate water savings justify installing artificial grass? No. Gasoline is priced at $4 per gallon, and up; most residential water users pay less than $0.004 per gallon. Replacing grass with turf in that 500 square-foot backyard might save you $270 per year, $22.50 per month. Over the life of the synthetic grass, however, savings add up; 10 years’ worth equates to $2,700 less in water bills (not adjusted for inflation).

Now imagine how much water could be saved annually if all the natural grass lawns in America, estimated at 40 million acres, were synthetic grass that requires zero H2O.

Forty million acres equals 1,742,400,000,000 (that’s trillions) square feet. Multiply each square foot by 135 gallons, the Southern California multiplier, and you get 235,224,000,000,000 (hundreds of trillions; next stop, quadrillions) of water that goes to keeping lawns looking green and healthy, coast-to-coast, in one year. And theoretically and mathematically, that much water would fill Great Salt Lake … 47 times.

Repeat: Synthetic grass never needs watering.