Water it is essential, Every living thing needs water without it they would cease to exist. Think back to when you were in school. I’ll bet if you really think hard about it you can remember a teacher holding up a globe and pointing to all the blue areas on the globe and saying 75% of the earth’s surface is water. Heck you probably had that as a test question at some point as well. But as with many things we have learned it is just another fact that we store away and do not think of on a daily bases.
Yes it is true 75% of the earths surface is water but if you were to delve father into that fact there are other facts inside of that one. 97% of that water is saltwater like the oceans so that means of all the water on earth we only have 3% that is fresh water. That is amazing but something that is even more amazing is that of that 3% 2% is either frozen or not accessible which means the whole population of the world needs to survive on only 1% of the water on the planet. Now that is something we should think about every day.
Another fact is on average we each use about 100 gallons of water a day, and of that about 50% is used for outdoors use such as watering lawns and landscapes. More important is that of the water we use for gardens, lawns, and landscape about 50% of that is wasted due to evaporation or runoff. That is a lot of wasted water and there are things that you can do to conserve this most precious of all resources. We are all guilty of this because it is not something that we think about because it really does not impact our lives unless we are in a drought under watering restrictions or we get a large water bill then we think about it. A dripping faucet that drips once every 5 seconds adds up over the course of a year that one drop of water will be over 3,000 gallons that goes down the drain. That is a lot of wasted water.
As gardeners we need to find ways to conserve water and avoid waste not only for ourselves and our pocketbooks but for the whole planet. The best way to start is to find more efficient ways to water out landscapes. By reducing our lawns we will reduce the need for so much water. Turf grass needs a tremendous amount of water to stay green and healthy. Replacing your lawn with native and drought tolerant plants would be a great way to conserve water.
An irrigation system is the best way to provide water for your plants and in fact drip irrigation is the most efficient as it puts the water right at the base of the plants where it can be used. By setting up rain barrels you can collect hundreds of gallons of free water that you can use for irrigation and that will not end up running off the yard and down into storm sewers. Planning carefully and planting in hydro zones is another. Hydro zones is where plants with the same water requirements are grouped together so you are not over watering some and under watering others but giving them just enough water with out unused run off.
So if you really think about it, you as a gardener can make a difference by taking a look at how you use water and how much you use. There are an estimated 900 million gardeners can you imagine if each one would stop one dripping faucet and save 3,000 gallons of water a year how much water could be saved.