How Much of my Water Goes Toward Irrigating my Landscaping?

Question:  How much of my water goes toward irrigating my landscaping?
Answer:  In Denver, 54% of the average residential customer’s water use goes toward irrigating the landscaping.

The average person in Denver uses 128 gallons of water per day for residential use.

The breakdown of residential water use:

  • 1%  Dishwashers
  • 5%  Leaks
  • 6%  Faucets
  • 10%  Showers and Baths
  • 11%  Laundry
  • 13%  Toilets
  • 54%  Landscaping

Source:  Denver Water

 

Why is this such a high number for landscaping?
The simple answer is that over the last 150 years as people have settled in Colorado and built homes and commercial properties, they have installed high water-use landscapes to look like the landscapes of the east coast and Midwest.

Being from the Midwest myself, I understand the fondness for those landscapes.  The problem is that the Front Range area of Colorado only receives about 17 inches of rain per year.  In New York or Michigan these landscapes often thrive without any irrigation-  but in Denver these landscapes have to be heavily irrigated to “fake” that same look.

I like my fake landscape- what is the big deal?
Aside from the fact that you are paying for the water, and your tax dollars go toward maintaining the system, Colorado is running out of water.  Experts expect that we’ll have a 630,000 acre-feet shortage in 20 years.  1 acre-foot is 325,851 gallons!

Xeriscape can reduce landscape water-use by up to 60%
Since the largest percentage of residential water use goes toward landscaping, the best way to reduce water use is to use less for landscaping.   And the most effective way to use less water for landscaping is to convert high water-use landscapes to Xeriscape.  This can easily be done for homes and large commercial properties.  There are several articles on this blog and our website that describe the process.   Studies have shown that a good Xeriscape will increase your property value by as much as 15%.

Xeriscape was a term coined by Denver Water in the early 1980′s.   It is not a specific look or group of plants, but rather a combination of seven common-sense gardening principles that save water while creating a lush and colorful landscape.

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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