Friday, July 18, 2014

Lawns & Water

Finding themselves in the midst of a prolonged, severe drought, it was heartening to learn that California water authorities had the fortitude to enact harsh water-use restrictions; according to national news services, they have admonished homeowners "not to overwater their lawns" and threatened possible fines if water is seen on their driveway or sidewalks.  Really?  Is this the best they can do in a water emergency?

In my opinion, anyone who lives in the arid and semiarid regions of the Western U.S. has no business watering their lawn (ever!).  In fact, I see no need to water lawns anywhere in the U.S.; those who live in central and eastern portions of the country generally receive enough annual precipitation to nourish grass and, when periods of drought occur, brown lawns are hardly a threat to society.  Unfortunately, those Americans enamored with massive lawns are the citizens most likely to use automated sprinklers to douse their prized carpets (often as rain is pouring from the sky).

Receptive to the ads of the lawn masters and sensing pressure from their neighbors, Americans ignore the relative scarcity of clean, fresh water on this planet and use far to much of it to produce thick, green lawns.  The latter, of course, are not natural habitats; from the point of view of most wildlife, they might as well be parking lots (see Lose Some Lawn, The Cost of Lawns and Man and his Lawn).