Landscape Water Volume & Cost: A Guess at Best

February 22nd, 2012  |  Published in Contributors Blog

A portion of a Rob Maday’s blog posted on Valley Crest’s Water Management Blog:

Landscape Water Volume & Cost: A Guess at Best

Maday pic 282x185 Landscape Water Volume & Cost:  A Guess at Best

In Richard Restuccia’s post last year, Inspect What You Expect, he touched on the importance of seeing results as an instigator of change. Rob Maday, founder of, is of the same thinking and takes the measure what you manage philosophy to the next level with water consumption, by encouraging consumers to understand the difference in water consumption for landscape versus other uses. Rob agreed to share his thoughts and advice as a guest blogger in his post below. Make sure to also visit his webpage to check out the Water Calculator tool he developed, which takes your zip code and tells you all kinds of useful information regarding water usage.  This is not some crazy technical website, it is very practical and I think is an amazing resource.  I like his holistic approach to water management because he focuses on exactly what your climate says about being water wise.


Here’s a worrisome thought:  The vast majority of homeowners have no idea what proportion of potable water flowing into their property is used inside versus outside the home.  That means millions of households with landscapes pay a water bill each month with the limited understanding that in summer months they pay more and winter months a touch less.  Without knowledge of the distinction between water used in the landscape and water used inside (bathrooms, kitchens, laundry, etc.), it is impossible to clearly communicate the gravity of the Western states water crisis.

When gas prices reach upwards of $4.00/gallon, people take note and adjust their lifestyles accordingly.  But how will we ever make the giant strides necessary to preserve a dwindling resource when there is no clear dollar sign affixed to irrigation water in our water bills?

Current water conservation efforts are all well intentioned and are actually effecting change…but not to the degree needed.  I posit that until all households have a water metering setup that can differentiate between the two uses, the most powerful instigator of change, money, cannot effectively work to the water conservation movement’s advantage.

Without any wide-reaching proposals on the horizon for such legislation, we are left with a number of ways to “estimate” how much water our landscapes drink.  Beyond the general percentages that are tossed around (30-40% of water bill goes to landscape) I’ll highlight three of the most popular methods of estimating water usage and costs:

For the rest of the article, read on here.

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