Utah is the second driest state in the United States. Utah also has the highest culinary water use per capita in the nation, and nearly double that of the national average. This is partly because Utah only receives 13 inches of precipitation a year which is not enough water to keep lawns green in the heat of the summer. It is estimated that 50-70% of culinary water is used for landscaping.
The amount of water used in your yard can be greatly reduced by following a few of these simple recommendations:
- Group plants that have similar watering needs together. This way, you won't over-water and under-water your vegetation.
- Include mulch around shrubs and plants to help reduce evaporation and limit weed growth.
- Keep shade plants in the shade so they don't dry out.
- Place water loving plants at the bottom of slopes where they will benefit from water run - off.
- Plan and install an efficient irrigation system. Insufficient water is detrimental to the plant, but excessive water can be just as bad.
- Plant native and water efficient plants in your yard. Your yard doesn't have to be dull to be water efficient. There is a wide variety of plants available that thrive in Utah's climate and look beautiful.
- Plant water efficient grass species or cut back on the turf in your yard and replace with low water use planter beds.
- Properly plan and design your yard based on the conditions in your yard. If you intend to change your landscaping completely, you will need to get a free land use permit.
- Select plants that are suitable for Utah's climate.
- Do not water between 10am-6pm. Evaporation rates are much lower after dark.
With these measures, you can have a beautiful landscape while helping to conserve water. An important thing to remember is that the earth will never produce more water than it already has. Increased populations put pressure on our freshwater resources and water systems. Conserving water is the best way to ensure that there will be plenty of water to go around in Utah's dry climate.