Water is a Valuable Resource
Water is a valuable resource. Every living thing needs water to survive. It should be used as efficiently as possible.
As the human population increases, water use increases; yet water is a limited resource. Fortunately, it is also a renewable resource.
The water cycle brings water to the earth in the form of precipitation (rain, snow, etc.). It falls on impermeable surfaces – such as roofs and pavement - and on porous surfaces – such as lawns – as well as into oceans, lakes and rivers. It filters through porous surfaces into underground aquifers. Throughout this process, it provides water for use by plants and animals.
Water evaporates from land and water surfaces, from animals, and, via transpiration, from plants to form water vapor. This water vapor then condenses and returns to the earth as precipitation.
Predictions, based on current population growth rates, estimate that nearly half of all humans will be living in areas experiencing severe water stress by 2050. With uneven precipitation received across the populated areas of the world and temporary water shortages caused by heat and drought, many regions are already experiencing stress.
The solution is two-fold: waste less and reuse more.
According to a study by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 70 percent of typical household water use is for indoor activities such as bathing, toilet flushing, dish washing, laundry, etc. Improved technology and various programs to encourage water conservation are making progress for indoor uses.
At the same time, water saving efforts are ongoing for outdoor water use. Homeowners can make significant reductions in outdoor water use simply by following watering basics for established lawns.
Advanced technology in irrigation delivery and control systems also improve efficiency and reduce waste. Homeowners can save water by installing specialized sprinkler heads to more precisely deliver the water, adjusting irrigation timers for seasonal weather conditions or by using computer-controlled irrigation systems that automatically respond to daily changes in weather conditions.
Saving water also saves homeowners money, as water costs are reduced.
Water quality is also an issue. One of the major causes of water quality problems is the runoff of contaminants from hard surfaces, such as roads and parking lots. Unfortunately, with expansion and building development open space is lost to these impervious surfaces. Runoff can be reduced by establishing new lawns and turfgrass areas.
The biology of turfgrass also makes lawns a near ideal medium for the biodegradation of all sorts of environmental contamination.
Turfgrass purifies the water as it leaches through the root zone and down into underground aquifers. Soil microbes help break down chemicals into harmless materials. This filtration system is so effective rain water filtered through a good healthy lawn is often as much as 10 times less acidic than water running off a hard surface.
Turfgrass filtration properties also are the reason that turfgrass is used to help recycle reclaimed (effluent) water.
Effluent water cannot be returned to most municipal water supplies or released into streams, lakes or oceans. But it can be used to irrigate turfgrass where it is cleaned as it passes through the root zone while supplying the turfgrass plant’s water needs in the process. Watered when needed, turfgrass will use the water very efficiently and effectively.