When an American looks around them they may see what seems to be a normal thing to them, cars, houses, air conditioning, pools in beautiful backyards, and running water. But they might not know what may quickly be becoming a problem. Although, there are ways to solve a problem before it becomes much worse. Low water supply has been an issue in several countries, but in the United States having running water and indoor plumbing is one of the many luxuries most Americans may take for granted. The water used to fill swimming pools, water grass lawns, and even the filtered water people drink is quickly becoming an issue of whether or not this everyday normality will someday run out. States such as California are utilizing various practices in water conservation to prevent this oncoming issue in question. These practices range from something as simple as turning off the faucet when an individual brushes their teeth to planting a xeriscape garden. For example, if a single household of four people brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes and turn off the faucet instead of letting it run, that household alone would save would save about 21 gallons a day, 150 gallons a week, and 7,700 gallons per year (Bowden 37). If just a handful of people utilized the practice of xeriscaping the amount of water saved would solve problems of water conservation both in current and future situations. Saving water can be simple and easy and an agricultural method that anyone can utilize may be implemented to help the issue of conserving water and help the environment as well.
There are methods of water conservation that many people may not know about to provide one of many solutions to saving the water we might quickly run out of. A person may not think twice about running their garden sprinklers, they may think the water will never run out since there are oceans which are thankfully vast bodies of water. Unfortunately, not only is it very expensive to treat the salty water just to be safe enough to drink, but an individual who waters their garden uses approximately 158 gallons of water (600 Liters) per hour(Dalgleish 14). Xeriscaping (pronounced zeer-i-skey-ping) is an agricultural practice that uses hardy desert plants that require little to no water in their maintenance. According to an article xeriscaping is made up of seven principles, “1. Proper planning and design; 2. Practical turf areas; 3. Efficient irrigation; 4. Soil improvements; S. Mulching; 6. Appropriate plant selection; and 7. Maintenance to reduce water needs” (Wade, Gary L.). This landscaping method uses a variety of different plants such as succulents, juniper, and even lavender for some color and uses rocks and stones to fill in between plants and along pathways. If done right xeriscaping can create a beautiful scenery that is beneficiary both to the environment and construction and maintenance costs. Xeriscaping may not be as easy and convenient as turning off a faucet when the water is not being used, or buying a home with water saving appliances, but it is still a method that saves a significant amount of water as well as becoming something people may come to enjoy.
The beneficiaries of xeriscaping can vary from personal to environmental. Xeriscaping may not have the vibrant colors or grassy green of a normal garden one would see almost everywhere, but it does still provide a “natural beauty” without having to resort to artificial grass and other plants. In extremely hot cities like the ones in the metropolitan area of Phoenix, Arizona are rapidly urbanizing and xeriscaping is not all that hard to find, it is seen everywhere and a “grassy green yard” is something very uncommon, and if an individual does come across this abnormal landscape including grass it is typically artificial due to the extreme heat. “Urban xeriscaping has the potential to reduce urban water use, urban temperatures and outdoor thermal discomfort…” (Chow). Xeriscaping provides solutions for both water conservation in urban areas and help gardens in hot temperatures. Something else an individual may come to love about this unique agricultural technique is that it requires very little maintenance. There is no grass to mow and with the little amount of water they require weeds are less likely to grow uncontrollably. Weeds enjoy the amount of water an individual uses to water their lawn, therefore they might use chemicals to kill the amount of weeds the water may bring. A Polish journal explains that a park in a resort city located in Antalya, Turkey could save approximately 57.24% of construction costs and 54.91% in annual maintenance costs, and the researchers conclude that, “xeriscaping can contribute to ecology by providing water savings, reducing chemical use, and preventing soil pollution” (Çetin). Without the profuse amount of water needed for a grassy landscape there would be no need for chemical use in exterminating weeds and without chemicals the soil will have less of a chance of becoming polluted. This agricultural method provides the landscape with a unique look and feel and provides one out of many solutions to water conservation.
Xeriscaping is an agricultural water conservation method that requires little or no irrigation that may not have what most people are looking for in terms of color and vibrancy in their garden, but provides one of the many various solutions to the issue of water depletion. It can offer positive outcomes to the environment as well as the people who live it, providing healthier soil, less weeds, and hardier plants to withstand the extreme temperature that are slowly but surely rising. It is easy for an individual to plant, maintain, and requires very little in cost making it one of the simple, easy, and affordable ways to add to the efforts of conserving the water most states are now worrying about becoming an issue. Xeriscaping is a method that comes with various benefits that can help in solving the issue of water conservation and ultimately the environment.
1. Bowden, Rob. Earth’s Water Crisis. World Almanac Library, 2007.
This book provides information on why water is important as well as why it needs to be saved. The book states facts about what could happen if the water supply became depleted and the issues it would cause worldwide. The paragraph provides statistics on how much water a household would save. The statistics allow the reader(s) to see how easy it can be to save gallons of water with a simple action and the facts may provide a shocking factor to the reader(s) to encourage them to save water easily. This is a reliable source with a consulted professional Research Director at the Oxford Centre for Water Research.
2. Chow, Winston T.L., Brazel, Anthony J. “Assessing xeriscaping as a sustainable heat island mitigation approach for a desert city.” Building and Environment, vol. 47, 2012, pp. 170-181.
This article first expresses the issue of climbing temperatures in Phoenix, Arizona and how rapidly they are increasing. It continues to explain how urban xeriscaping may be able to solve various issues. I am using this article to support my statement on how xeriscaping in Arizona can be beneficiary in its hot desert climate. I am also using it to show the possible ways it can be easy to help in conserving water. This is a reliable source from a reliable scientific journal.
3. Çetin, Nefise et al. “Xeriscaping Feasibility as an Urban Adaptation Method for Global Warming: A Case Study from Turkey.” Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, vol. 27, no. 3, 2018, pp. 1009-1018.
This article explains why xeriscaping can be an important part of water conservation as well as using this method to also keep a clean look to a resort city located in Turkey called Antalya. Provides a brief description of how much the city is saving in regards to maintenance and construction as well as water supply. This article is to provide the reader(s) information about how this agricultural method can be beneficiary to the environment as well as costs regarding landscaping. It is a reliable source from a scientific journal that focuses on various environmental studies.
4. Dalgleish, Sharon. Saving Water. Chelsea House Publishers, 2003.
This book includes facts and information about how water is being and can be used. It starts by explaining what water is and why it is so important to all living things. The page that I am using in this essay presents facts that will support the proposition on why running garden sprinklers may be a problem. I am including this book/page in my essay because it will provide good information such as certain facts that will support what I have written. It is a reliable source from an author who focuses on informing readers on various topics through her publications.
5. Wade, Gary L., Weatherly, E. Neal. “Xeriscaping Saves Water – But Does It Save Money?” Georgia Tech Library, 1991.
This website explains what xeriscaping is and what it entails. It also provides how while it may be beneficial to the environment it is not exactly easy to afford. I am using this small article because it not only explains what xeriscaping is to provide the reader with the knowledge to understand what is being talked about in this essay, but it also explains the downfalls to this agricultural method. It will serve as my rebuttal for my paragraph. This is a reliable source from an online library of Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Georgia.