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Why Do Water Providers Want You to Use Less Water?

It’s good for the environment.Photo of Old Water Tower

It can save you money on water bills and maintenance.

There are many reasons for you to renovate your landscaping to save water.  But why would a water provider or utility want you to use less of what they provide- water?

Since we work with customers to reduce their water-use, we hear this question quite often.  It does seem counter intuitive:  Why would someone who is in the business of selling water want you to use less of it- in many cases offering rebates and incentives to do so?

Can you imagine a Walmart employee standing outside of the store offering to give you $20 back, if you spent LESS money inside the store?

There are a few key reasons why water conservation is encouraged by water providers:

First, water demand will always continue to increase, regardless of how much our water use is reduced.  Population growth and land development put a great deal of strain on our water supply and the water delivery system.

Because the demand will always be there, it is in the water provider’s best interest to slow the rate of growth as much as possible.  There are large systems for treating, storing, and delivering water that need constant expansion and repair.

Secondly, water conservation is already built into the billing system.  Most water suppliers now use a conservation-oriented “tiered” rate structure.  These rate structures charge a base rate regardless of how much water is used, and separate rates for the levels of water that is actually consumed.

Finally, water utilities often consist of complex public/private partnerships, so there are environmental and public health considerations that are just as important as profit.  Would we really want our water system to be based totally on how much revenue and profit could be generated?

When considering the public good in terms of water conservation, there are numerous considerations:  Preparedness for droughts; the health of our rivers, lakes, and streams, and aquifers; impacts to other cities and states “downstream”; and even national security.

This is the official blog of Outdoor Design Group, Colorado Landscape Architects. For more information about our business and our services, click here.


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5 Ways to Use Landscaping to Enhance Your Christmas Decorations

The other night I watched the classic holiday comedy, Christmas Vacation.  Clark Griswold provides endless laughs in the course of his struggle with ladders and Christmas lights.  Occasionally, the lights actually work and at one point Clark has the following exchange with “Aunt Bethany”:landscaping and christmas decorations

Aunt Bethany:  Is your house on fire, Clark?
Clark:  No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.

While anyone can load their house up with a gazillion flashing holiday lights and plastic reindeer, there is a lot of planning and work that goes into decorating a home tastefully for the holidays.

Ideally, the entire curb appeal should work together to create a scene that enhances the building and looks like it belongs there.  The shrubs, trees, and other landscaping (along with the structure) are important elements to the scene you are creating.

So, how can landscaping enhance the holiday decor?  Here are 5 ways to plan your landscape to work well with holiday decorations.

1.  Select plants that have good winter interest

Try to use a variety of plants that not only look good in the summer, but also have good winter interest.  There are many trees and shrubs available that have interesting bark and stem color (think red twig dogwood).

Utilize ornamental grasses, shrubs, and perennials that will catch the snow on their stems and branches.  On a cold day or night the snow will glisten in the sunlight or from the glow of holiday lights.

Also, use a mixture of evergreen and semi-evergreen shrubs.  Semi-evergreen shrubs are those such as Fernbush and Broom that have green stems and whose leaves may persist into the winter.


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