Artificial Grass and Water Usage

From Disneyland and the Wynn Hotel to the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base and your neighbor’s yard, thousands of homes, businesses, golf courses and public spaces have turned to artificial grass (fake grass) to provide a lush, attractive landscape solution that requires minimal resources and maintenance. Water conservation is a necessity. In March 2011, Wharton published a report about the growing scarcity of water. It references a prediction by the 2030 Water Resources Group that by 2030 global water requirements will be “a full 40 percent above the current accessible, reliable supply.”

Further, less than 3 percent of all available water is fresh and drinkable. Underground aquifers hold almost all the potable water available in liquid form, and their rate of depletion more than doubled between 1960 and 2009 Yet, the EPA states that nationwide landscape irrigation is estimated to account for almost one-third of all residential water use, totaling more than 7 billion gallons per day.

Synthetic turf promotes greater utilization of land, as you can do more with the same space surfaced with synthetic turf than with natural grass. Rooftops once deemed unusable for high-rises and residential buildings can now feature inviting green areas. Hotels that had to restrict the use of the lawns for parties and events can now schedule as many functions as they can book.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority estimates that every square foot of natural grass replaced saves 55 gallons of water per year.11 If an average lawn is 1,800 square feet, then Las Vegas homeowners with synthetic turf could save 99,000 gallons of water each year or about $400 annually. In Atlanta, homeowners could save $715 a year, not including much higher sewer charges. In its report, “Municipal Solid Waste in the United States, 2009 Facts and Figures,” the EPA estimates that 33.2 million tons of yard trimmings were generated in 2009, the third largest component of Municipal Solid Waste in landfills. As yard trimmings decompose, they generate methane gas, an explosive greenhouse gas and acidic leachate.

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