HOW MANY WATERWISE LAWNS COULDIn Boulder, Colorado, when the city said they'd have to cut off water to a popular local organic farmer, concerned residents said, "If it's a question of my Kentucky Bluegrass Lawn, or that wonderful organic produce, forget the lawn!" But, how many Kentucky Bluegrass lawns would need to be xeriscaped to save the 125 acre farm?
SAVE AN ORGANIC FARM?
Bluegrass to Buffalograss
Changing just 18 acres (96 lawns) would save enough water for the 125 acre organic farm
By replacing 96 (8,000 square foot) Kentucky Bluegrass lawns with new Turf-type Buffalograss lawns, watered only two or three times, the necessary 40 acre feet of water could be
saved each year. In other words, only 18 acres of Bluegrass lawn, if changed to Buffalograss, would save the125 acre farm.
Bluegrass to Turf-type Tall Fescue
Changing just 30 acres (163 lawns) would save enough water for the 125 acre organic farm
The necessary 40 acre feet of water could be saved by replacing 163 (8,000 square foot) Kentucky Bluegrass lawns with new Turf-type Tall Fescue lawns, and watered at about
half the typical Boulder Kentucky Bluegrass irrigation rate. In other words, just 30 acres of Bluegrass lawn, if changed to Turf-type Tall Fescue, would save the 125 acre farm.
In programs that directly link city water use with farm irrigation, Boulder, like many western cities, leases some reserve water supplies to local farmers. These are sometimes referred to as "interruptable" water rights programs. The idea is to use the reserve water for urban use in emergency situations only. In some programs, farmers would be paid for lost revenue when the city needs the water, while most of the time the farmers would have the water for farming. This kind of program can permanently provide local farm produce, as well as provide farmland for "open space" between adjacent cities. It also provides a reliable emergency source of water for the cities -- a real "win-win" arrangement that local residents can support by conserving water with beautifully xeriscaped yards, since water saved is immediately available for the farms.