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Green news from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Hills
Comments:
by Robin Y Rivet
on August 3, 2015 at 11:52 AM
This is the most profound synopsis I have read in awhile about current landscaping advice and practices, and its impact on our environment. How can we address the larger picture of climate change, if we continue to remove so much volume of plant material from our cities? Smarter landscaping implementation is one thing, but forcing changes without good science is just plain short-sighted.
by Dan Stark
on August 3, 2015 at 2:35 PM
As the person in our office who is responsible for maintaining our drought resources, I have to say that I was completely blind-sided by this "research." Do the authors really want for us to start telling people to go ahead and water their lawns in cities with desert climates? I would also like to know where the authors get their information about "values" acquired from green spaces, or is this just their own opinions?
by John Pearson
on August 8, 2015 at 9:09 AM
The article is very misleading and does not indicate the source of the water from which the 9% is estimated. For homes with on-site wells, I can assure you that far more than 9% of water use goes to landscape. Not having a water meter on our well, makes exact measurement difficult. But after installing hose bib meters, my rough estimate is that at least 80% of our water use is landscape, including a vegetable garden. Our lawn is gone, replaced with wood chips, and in the fall will be adding drought tolerant plants. Trees and bushes are on drip irrigation. (Ten fruit trees consumed 150 gallons of water in just one hour! Our daily showers take only about 5-7 gallons.) Vegetables and other plants are carefully watered by hand at the roots, after checking the moisture level.
by Dennis Pittenger
on August 12, 2015 at 9:09 AM
One of the messages in our document is that considerable savings in landscape irrigation are attainable without devastating existing landscapes and the benefits they provide by using turf only where it is functionally necessary and by following certain other water management strategies and practices. A second message is eliminating or severely restricting landscape irrigation will provide relatively small savings in statewide developed water use but it will have relatively large negative impacts on landscapes and the benefits they provide. Many benefits of urban landscapes we note are self-evident, but there is research and science to document them as well. One example of a source of science-based information on the connections between human well-being and landscapes is the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois (http://lhhl.illinois.edu). Examples of specific instances of landscapes’ benefits are reported at http://www.nature.com/srep/2015/150709/srep11610/full/srep11610.html and http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/07/09/scientists-have-discovered-that-living-near-trees-is-good-for-your-health/.  
 
Dennis Pittenger and Donald Hodel
by Jurgen Gramckow
on August 14, 2015 at 12:20 PM
Kudos to Hodel and Pittenger for telling the whole story!! Replacing turf with gravel or artificial grass has negative environmental and quality of life consequences. Right now lawns are seen through the one dimentional perspective of water use. The message is lawns use too much water, therefore they are bad. It is a false conclusion. The article points out all of their benefits. Here are some water stats to put things in perspective. Of all the water that is accounted for by the Department of Water Resources, 48% goes to environmental river flows, 42% goes to ag, and 10% goes urban. Often the statiistics are presented saying 80% goes ag and 20% goes urban, completely ignoring environmental flows as if they do not exist. If you conform to the 20% urban use perspective, then 9% is ALL landscape water use in the state. Get rid of every lawn, shrub, and tree and that's all you save. By comparison livestock forage crops in California consume 13% of the water.
 
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