Grass is #1 US crop and is very water-dependent

Using satellite imagery, NASA’s Christina Milesi has been studying the impact of lawns on America’s fresh water resources. Research indicates there’s at least 3 times more surface area of lawns in the U.S. than irrigated corn, making it the largest irrigated crop.

How do lawns hurt the environment?

 fertilizers run off into drains, contaminating drinking water

 fertilizers pollute rivers and streams and damage ecosystems

 watering lawns depletes our freshwater reserves

chemical herbicides / pesticides are health risks to humans and wildlife

lawns infringe on viable habitat for pollinators like bees

 an hour of gas-powered lawn mowing produces as much pollution as four hours of driving a car

Consider Xeriscaping!

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 4.36.09 PM

USA California, Santa Barbara, Firescape Garden by firestation on Stanwood

View more xeriscape gardens here.


For further reading:

Lawn Pesticide Fact Sheet

Assessing the Extent of Urban Irrigated Areas in the United States.

One thought on “Grass is #1 US crop and is very water-dependent

  1. How important it is to discuss this mania for lawns in regions where they do not survive naturally; not only when they are used as landscaping in urban surroundings but also the every day more extensive use of it in golf courses all over the world to capture the golf tourism trade.
    This sport is originally from Scotland where it rains almost everyday of the year; campaigns should be carried out to convince golfers there should be a classification of golf courses according to their local environmental impact.
    I remember traveling in Morocco in the vicinity of the lake dam of El Mansour Eddahbi, Province of Ouarzazate, where the landscape is almost desert, and seeing dozens of water canons shooting onto the golf course impressive torrents of water at noon, so the grass could survive the heat and the drought. Thousands and thousands of gallons! What a waste. Specially if you had seen on the fringes of the Sahara, some 100Km away the crops that locals were able to produce being watered with only a very narrow and week stream of water from a well, that was managed so carefully as you would with your most precious possession.
    A guided visit to the desert should be part of any educational system for people living in normal environments to understand the evidence of the principle of NWNL

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