Environmental Sustainability in Everyday Landscaping

Water Waste

TWO HUNDRED gallons—that’s how much water on average Americans use per day. THIRTY PERCENT of this water is used outdoors.

SIXTY gallons of water is used outside by a single person, every single day, multiply that by millions of people and you get an alarming estimated amount of water seeped into the ground at 9 billion gallons! In Minnesota and other parts of the country, many residents even over-water their lawns, and end up watering sidewalks and pavements--all this while some states are experiencing drought.

According to a NASA study, lawns in the United States, when clumped together, would take as much space as New York (the state, not the city!) totaling to about fifty thousand square miles of grass (yes, 50,000 square miles)! Picture how much water it takes to soak a whole state every single day, we could dry out the Hudson in a few years! Now wouldn’t it be better if we could allot that water being used for other things like for growing crops and fruits, or for drinking instead. That’s what we all want to do: keep water waste for lawns at a minimum so we can use the water for more pressing needs.

In summer, there is heightened water use all over the country.

A skyrocketing triple amount of water slurped from rivers and aquifers compared to the consumption during winter. It could be for drinking, for gardening or for bathing, but everything just requires more hydration in the summer. More concerning is that at present, because of global warming raising temperatures all over the Earth, we’re getting hotter days longer than we used to.

At the rate we’re going, we may worsen the strains on the water supply more; and this will ultimately affect the country’s resources from lakes, wetlands, and streams. Our sources of water may lower in levels, causing not only water shortages, but also drought as an extreme case.

High temperatures, as well as more intense and less certain, weather conditions are said to affect the dispersal of rain, snow, river and ground water, worsening water quality, according to studies. Those in low-income areas who are currently susceptible to water supply problems will be affected the worst. They can have little to no access to clean water, but not if we can do something about it!

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nearly one-third of residential water use across the country is used for landscape irrigation or simply stated: watering lawns. The same lawn which you’re gonna have to weed, mow and take care of. Picture it as a baby that never grows up. And because it never takes care of itself, it keeps on sucking down water while you pay for an astronomical water bill.

California and Texas, America’s most populated states, are facing droughts. Water managers want to lessen water consumption, increasing water prices as one of their measures. The water scarcity could affect all the states in the future. In the past few years, water price has also been rising—as much as six percent--for a single family’s annual consumption. California has taken measures like price hikes for water in some parts of the state because of the drought.

Irrigation systems for lawns are problematic as well for having leaks. Installed underground
sprinklers are run regularly and they go unnoticed when leaking.

According to the EPA, an irrigation system with a leak of 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month. Let us clarify that, a hole with the THICKNESS of a dime, NOT the diameter of a dime, can cause that much water to leak in a month! If 1 CCF (100 cubic feet / 748 gallons) of water in California costs $3.88, that would amount to at least $30 a month on a tiny leak!

The EPA finds that leaks “can waste more than 1 trillion gallons annually nationwide. That’s equal to the annual household use of more than 11 million homes.” And these drips go unnoticed because individually, a couple of drips coming out of a shower or faucet doesn’t seem like much. But if we add up the millions of households with leaky pipes and water sources, water wasted on leaks average to about 2.7 billion gallons per day! For emphasis, that’s 2 BILLION GALLONS of water WASTED EVERY SINGLE DAY in the United States of America BECAUSE OF LEAKAGE.

Even without leakage, tending grass on a normal basis consumes an insane amount of water. A 12x12 inch grass patch annually uses up water about as much as a small inflatable pool. 500 square feet of lawn can take up about 67,500 gallons of water annually. That’s about the size of three swimming pools! Even though it may seem that only a bit of water is used every time lawns are watered, these amounts add up, and they add up to billions of gallons, not to mention, dollars! And unless you’re using a deep well and manually pumping water from the Earth, you’re also using energy to get water too. So you’re paying for that likewise. Just like leaks, these are small things that gradually pile up inconspicuously out of mind. But we noticed, and we are informing you because we know that you care, just like we do!

Another factor to take in, concerning the environmental impact of lawns and turf, is the fertilizer.

Fertilizer is rich in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus—simulating growth for the lawn. However, when fertilizer flows into waterways, it triggers algal blooms (see our page on Carbon Dioxide for more information) that endanger fish and other marine species by depriving them from oxygen and worsening water quality in their ecosystems. And since almost all of the grass species in the US are not native to where they’re planted, they use more water and chemicals in order to grow. Since they’re not supposed to be growing in certain regions, it could take heaps of fertilizer before they mature, and when they do, they have to be given more to maintain their green.

American homeowners spend billions of dollars and on average use about 10 times fertilizers and pesticides per acre on lawns. This is more than the fertilizers and pesticides applied by farmers on the crops that they grow. Sadly, more than half of these chemicals get wasted because of wrong timing and misapplication. These chemicals then flow with the water and become a major source of water pollution. It’s a classic case of mismanagement, really. You have the tools, you have the resources, what you lack is the proper information to work with, not to mention, you have better things to care about than how to cultivate grass!

According to the EPA, 40-60% of the nitrogen that people put in their lawns through fertilizer winds up in “surface and groundwater.”

The Chesapeake Bay, for example, is polluted by nitrogen and phosphorus coming from urban sources. Both nitrogen and phosphorus pollution have the potential to become the costliest and most difficult environmental problems in the 21st century. But this isn’t your usual environmental issue because the problem isn’t caused by a single polluter. The eutrophication (the process by which a body of water becomes enriched in dissolved nutrients that stimulate the growth of aquatic plant life usually resulting in the depletion of dissolved oxygen) problem can be traced to agriculture and wastewater treatment plants, but one of its worst suppliers is the extreme number of Americans tending about 38 million acres of turf… and all the mistakes caused by the population in adding chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers improperly add up and contribute greatly to the contamination of our waters.

Remember the baby we mentioned earlier? The one that consumes as much water as the Kraken? He’s also a picky eater, he needs supplements because he’s not receiving the nourishment he’s supposed to be getting. Apparently, those supplements cause a side effect—diarrhea. You find it hard to breathe inside the house because of the smell, and people outside get a whiff too. It affects the neighborhood, just like the pesticide infused water loose in the sewage. Remember the baby not growing up? You’re then gonna have to care for the baby for as lawn as you can.

Are you really up for that kind of responsibility?

Because if you are, by all means, raise the baby. Just don’t forget that you have to shave it every week, too.

Sometimes though, you can’t say no to the baby because it’s already there or it has to be. Numerous homeowners’ associations (HOAs) all over the country require that their members maintain a certain amount of turf area in order to avoid penalties. Some of these people have no idea how to care for their always-have-to-be-perfect-lawns, but since the alternative is a pricey consequence, they’d much rather spend hard-earned money on fertilizers, water and pesticides to keep the HOAs from going after them. Even when they don’t have the slightest clue of what they’re doing! (kinda like parenting?)

We’re well aware of this, and we’re coming to the rescue! If you don’t want that lawn baby, you can tell us and we’ll take it off your hands, much similar to child services but instead of saving it from you, we’re saving you from it!

Just imagine, your turf can be the perfect height that you want, with the perfect type of grass (we have lots of choices!) to your liking, and the perfect lawn your HOA would swoon over. Because let’s face it, we’re perfect for you! Eco-friendly, resilient, flexible AND low maintenance? That’s everything you want in a life partner! Not to mention, we’re understanding! We understand that you want to save the Earth and keep your lawn struggles at a minimum, and we want those things for you too. That’s why we’re here!

We would also like to point out that a lot of human activities that use water produce wastewater. That’s the water that has been used in the home, in a business, or as part of an industrial process. So when you do your laundry, the water flowing out of your machine is considered wastewater, and you know what’s in that? Chemicals. Soap. Bleach.

When you take a shower, the water that goes down your drain?
Wastewater.

The water you use when you flush the toilet after pooping? Literal waste + water = wastewater.
Even the water we wash our hands with. Wastewater.

Due to the water demand globally, the wastewater produced is also increasing. Wastewater’s pollution is growing all over the world too. Over 80% of global wastewater, and over 95% in least developed countries, is released to the environment without filtration or any treatment. When these wastewaters are discharged, they flow to canals, streams or wherever your sewage systems end up--they are diluted, transported downstream or they intrude into aquifers. This affects the quality and accessibility of freshwater sources. For the endgame, wastewater ultimately flows into larger bodies of water, affecting not only marine life, but also human supply of clean water.

It’s a cycle that we cannot escape--what we give nature inevitably goes back to us.

A new dawn for your lawn.

We, here at Megagrass, believe that you are entitled to a constantly immaculate cut lawn without hassles and environmental concerns. This is why we’re offering a wide array of choices for synthetic grass that you think can be perf for your turf! Imagine a perfect world where you no longer need to worry about an entirely lawn-scaped turf! You don’t have to anymore because you’ve got us! No more water wasted on upkeep for the grass, and no money wasted on upkeep of your watering systems as well. Just flawless lawns with little to no maintenance, so you can get rid of that uneasy feeling of having to do so much to keep your lawn from turning into Jumanji, and now you can marvel at the awesomeness of your yard instead!