Monday, August 08, 2011

#7 negative - sprinklers/water waste

august will be the last month of the sky is big in pasadena.  

i have accepted a position at salford mennonite church in harleysville, pennsylvania.  we will be moving in september, so august will be my farewell month to the city of pasadena.  when we moved here from virginia i posted a list of the ten things i would miss most about harrisonburg.  i figured that would be a good way to end our time here, so each day i will be doing one final rundown of life in this great city.  i have prepared two lists - ten things i won't be sad to leave behind, and twenty of my absolute favorite things about pasadena.  i am going to start with ten positives and ten negatives, alternating back and forth each day.  concluding with my top ten things about life in pasadena.

#7 negative - sprinklers/water waste

it may surprise some people to learn that pasadena is a pretty dry city.  from may through the end of October we average only 1.7 inches of precipitation - not monthly, for that whole stretch.  much of our city water comes from northern california and from the colorado river, which means it takes a lot of energy just to provide this area with water.

and what do we do with it?  why, we water our lawns!  the pasadena water and power figures say that we use 29 million gallons of water each day in the city.  just going on national averages of around 50-60% of water being used for landscaping, we use a LOT of water simply to make our homes look nice.

i was happy to find this sprinkler turned off, because quite often you will find them on and leaking water on the curbs, sidewalks, or roads.  don't even get me started about sprinkler systems that still come on during rain storms.  the water we put on our lawns is one thing, but every once in a while I still see people using a hose to spray off their driveway or sidewalk.

let me come down off my soapbox for a minute and say that we have been really inspired by some of our neighbors - those who use "grey" water for their landscaping or convert their lawns to drought-resistant landscapes.  some people have opted to switch from the traditional grass lawn to a productive fruit and vegitable farm, and that just makes me smile.  i grew up in a part of the world where lawn watering was almost unheard of, and water was not a commodity that had to be rationed and argued over.  i certainly will not miss this aspect of pasadena.


susanah j. wideman said...

good post. unfortunately, the part of the world you come from is now intent on putting splash pads in every new neighbourhood - which is another strange fresh water use, to basically water a sidewalk. some day you could post about the dwindling water table in southern ontario :)

Petrea Burchard said...

I'm with you on this one, Ben. There's little in this world as wasteful as the watering of landscape grass.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

people like golf

ben wideman said...

In fact, I'm one of those people. But I really dislike the amount of water that is used to keep golfers happy. Maybe we should only play golf on grass in regions that can grow grass naturally... or make our courses out of synthetic grass.