Within the last year Lake Mead has hit historically low levels, leaving Hoover Dam’s backside nearly naked. Lakes have dried up across Texas, swamps have disappeared in Georgia.
Look around just about anywhere in America and you’ll see evidence that water is in short supply … and more than ever synthetic grass is a solution toward reducing water consumption.
This spring in Texas, almost 60 percent of the state continues to be parched by what is designated as severe drought. In Colorado, where Aspen trees are dying because of a lack of rainfall, 10 counties have been declared “drought disasters.” In California, where Governor Schwarzenegger declared years of drought over in 2010, Governor Brown has now rescinded that order, mindful that winter snowpack in the state’s mountain ranges is less than half that of normal. John Rossi, general manager of the Western Municipal Water District serving Riverside County, wryly observes: “Looks like another dry year.”
Where does the water go? It’s a fact that the majority of water used by people doesn’t go to drinking or personal use, or agriculture. No, according to the best estimates, between two-thirds and three-fourths of water consumption is for landscaping – watering the garden and backyard, the street medians and golf courses.
Research by agencies such as the National Weather Service and the Metropolitan Water District in Southern California indicates a natural grass lawn will require an average of 45 gallons per square foot per year to stay looking green and healthy. But most lawns are also overwatered, often twice as much as needed, increasing the subtotal of consumption to 90 gallons per square foot annually. Now consider that as much as half that water is lost to evaporation, and a square foot of sod is responsible for 135 gallons of water usage in a year.
Synthetic grass, of course, consumes no water – zero — and looks great year after year … drought or no drought.
Real-world translation: Replace 500 square feet of natural grass lawn in a backyard with synthetic grass, and 67,500 gallons of water annually is conserved. That’s enough to fill three average-sized swimming pools.
It’s also worth noting that as water consumption decreases, so does the water bill – which is at least a secondary reason for installing synthetic grass.
While gasoline costs $4 per gallon and up; most residential water users pay less than $0.004 per gallon. Still, the math doesn’t lie –substituting artificial turf for real grass in that 500 square-foot backyard might save you $22.50 a month, $270 per year, more than $3,000 over the lifespan of the synthetic grass (not adjusted for inflation). For some people, money is almost as precious as water and becoming just as scarce.