It happens every summer. Things begin to get hot and dry and water becomes a topic of conversation and concern. Here in Texas we have tended to take water for granted. Every time you turn on the faucet it comes out, right? Despite what we may think of our summer water bills, our water supply is still relatively inexpensive.
In the summer the quantity of water used by a typical residence peaks at 50 to 100 percent over the winter rate. While typical indoor uses stay fairly level throughout the year, this additional water is going to keep the lawn, garden, and landscape alive. Unfortunately, the months when we need water the most are the months when it rains the least! Municipalities have to build the pumping and supply lines capable of handling this peak. Thus the more we can do to lower the peak, the more money our communities can save.
The future of our water supply has become a major concern for municipalities, agriculture producers, and our legislators. Current projections point to approximately 2030 as the year we “run out of water”, or more accurately when our demand exceeds our supplies.
While experts debate just when this day will come, there is one thing for sure…the future sure looks drier. Surface and ground water supplies will continue to be strained as our population increases. Water is needed for many aspects of our lives including industry, household uses, and irrigation. Considering the various places our water goes, when there is not enough to go around where will we cut back? When the competition is between having drinking water, supplying manufacturing, growing food crops, flushing the toilet, washing clothes, and watering an extensive landscape, which do you think is the most expendable?
Texas AgriLife Extension Service recently conducted a series of meetings called the Texas Community Futures Forum in every county in the state. These meetings brought local residents together to identify the top issues they feel need to be addressed to maintain or improve their quality of life in the future. Water was a top issue in virtually all counties, especially in central Texas.
We need to build more water efficient landscapes. There are many tools at our disposal to do this including choosing drought tolerant plants, water efficient landscape designs, drip irrigation and other technologies, and rainwater collection.
Xeriscape, WaterWise, WaterSmart or whatever name you put on it, water efficient landscaping is here to stay. We can and should be part of the solution.
This section of the website provides a wealth of resources to help you use water more efficiently in the garden and landscape. Get a head start on the future with some wise investments in your landscape today.