Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Landscaping can be a very water intensive activity which is not only resource demanding, but also expensive. The best way to reduce the water consumption and resource impacts of landscaping is to minimize the amount of space at a project site that is landscaped with turf or plants that require irrigation and application of fertilizers and pesticides.
Low impact development principles should be considered where feasible to help reduce the resource demands of new or retrofitted developments. Landscaping projects should be placed in locations that do not disturb existing wetlands, water courses, or high value wildlife habitat areas.
Reducing the amount of water used for existing landscaping can be as easy as adjusting the irrigation system. By changing the type of irrigation system used, adjusting the water intervals or watering at the time of the day when water demand is low, the amount of water used for landscaping can be greatly reduced.
The amount of water used in landscaping can also be reduced by using plants that are native to the area. Native plants are better adapted to local climate conditions. Often this means that the plants will not need to be watered as much during the summer if they are accustomed to drought or very wet winters. Adding organic matter to existing soils can help improve soil structure, thus improving water holding capacity of the soil. When a soil has a greater water holding capacity, it can store water longer, eliminating the need to irrigate as often.
By using better irrigation systems and utilizing plants native to the specific climate, the amount of water needed will be reduced, thus lowering the impact on the earth.
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- EPA WaterSense Efficiency Program
- EPA Region 9 Water Program home page
- EPA Database of State-by-State Water Conservation Programs
- Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance Fact sheet on Water Efficiency (PDF) (10 pp, 604K)
- Low Impact Development Center
- Southern Nevada Water Authority
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