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Experiment Will Measure Water Use in Different Landscapes

Experiment Will Measure Water Use in Different Landscapes

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John Daley ReportingAs the drought worsens many Utahns are wondering how to save water. This summer Eyewitness News is tracking outdoor water use at three homes to see what kind of landscape is most water-wise.

We have three landscapes--a traditional mostly grass lawn, a mixed landscape that’s part lawn and part water-wise plants, and a yard that has a mostly drought-tolerant landscape. Along with the Utah Rivers Council and the Utah State Extension Service we want to see which is least thirsty, and to find out how each home can save more.

In front: a spectacular array of native and not-very-thirsty plants. In back are more water-wise plants and a small lawn. Clearly this east bench home is not a big water waster. But Susan White has volunteered for our little summer experiment to see how her water use compares with other yards.

Susan White, Homeowner Water-wise Landscape: "I think it's important, to get the message out and I think it's beautiful to see some of our Utah natives and landscapes."

Here's the plan: Natalie and Laurie from the Slow the Flow campaign are doing in-depth checks on water use at three homes: Susan White's mostly water-wise landscape, a home in the upper avenues that has a mix of lawn and drought-tolerant plants, and a mostly more traditional landscape of Kentucky bluegrass lawn.

Homeowner Andrea White says she can see from the water running down the sidewalk, she can do better.

Andrea White, Homeowner, Traditional Landscape: "We've been trying to be more water-wise in what we've planted, but I think we still probably use more than we need to and I'm interested to learn on how we could save some."

Laurie and Natalie assess how much water the sprinklers are delivering, check the water pressure, measure the size of the lot, crunch some numbers, and then make recommendations about how to save more.

The main message is simple.

Erica Thoen, Utah Rivers Council: "We can still have beautiful yards and use water efficiently in the process."

After six years of drought our reservoirs are getting dangerously low. Bur researchers say 65% of our culinary water is used on our landscape and about 50% of that is wasted as homeowners water twice as much as necessary.

Laurie Weidner, Water Checker: “What’s the biggest mistake people make? Watering every day.”

We'll be checking in on these three landscapes throughout the summer to see how they're doing.

Meantime--you can get more water-wise tips and also schedule your own FREE water check at 1-877-SAVE-H2O.

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