Outdoor Conservation

The overall strategy is to use native, drought-tolerant plants to cut outside water needs, then to create your own irrigation supply by harvesting rainwater. Native plants naturally grow in our local area. They are accustomed to local soils, rainfall, and pests, so they need less water, fertilizer, and care. Native flowering plants attract birds, bees and butterflies. Conventional lawns require lots of water – instead why not use good-looking native grasses? See this website for detailed information on native and drought-tolerant plants.

Or, you can plant an edible landscape –a vegetable garden - and grow some food. Drip irrigation combined with mulch will drastically cut your water use.

Whether you choose ornamental plants or vegetables, it is important to plan ahead so that your rainwater harvesting system can supply all your outdoor water needs. The more water you capture, the more you can grow. When you replace a high water-use landscape with a low water-use landscape, you will conserve water and still have a beautiful yard.

The bottom line: avoid using groundwater for landscapes.


  • "Ranchers need clean water for their stock, farmers need it for their crops, every employer needs it to stay in business, and every living thing needs it for life... The law needs to be clear to protect water quality and the rights of landowners."
    Mark Udall
  • "Water is the driver of Nature."
    Leonardo da Vinci
  • "When the well is dry, we know the worth of water."
    Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1746
  • "...and since flow of information is to spirit what water is to life, we'd best think about how to keep the pipes free and unclogged."
    Raphie Frank
  • "In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference."
    Rachel Carson
  • "We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one."
    Jacques Yves Cousteau
  • "Water is life's matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water."
    Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, 1937 Nobel Prize for Medicine
  • "Water is everywhere and in all living things; we cannot be separated from water. No water, no life. Period..."
    Robert Fulghum
  • "It's the water. Everything is driven by the water."
    Mike Thompson
  • "Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over."
    Mark Twain