A Viable Alternative One of the primary resources that are in short supply in the California region is that of water. California is expected see an increase of 11 million new residents in the next 25 years posing a hazardous impact to the amount of water that is used every year (Hanek and Davis)…
One of the ways in which the demand for water can be decreased is through the use of landscaping that has plants and features that require less water than a typical lawn and set of flower beds might use. Through the use of a more environmentally friendly ‘dry’ landscaping, the reduction in water usage can be significant. In looking at the prospect of xerisaped gardens for the state of California, a healthy reduction in the use of water can be achieved while still maintaining an esthetically pleasing appeal for residents. Abuse of Water and the Problem in California The population growth and the excuses that lead to high levels of water usage have created a challenge for the urban water utilities in California. It is difficult to cultivate new sources of water and can incur a high level of cost. In addition, the search for new water sources can endanger the wildlife in the areas that are utilized for increasing the amount of available water (Hanek and Davis). With the weather being typically warm and the hydration evaporating from lawns in the dryer California regions, an excess use of water quickly depletes resources at a quicker rate than they can be replenished. As populations increase, this is going to be an increasing problem in a state that has already experienced shortages on a regular basis. As an example, in 2009 California experienced water shortages which resulted in disruptions in the economics of the state as farmers experienced losses due to a lack of water for crops (Cody i). There are a great many excuses that are used for the over use of water. One of those excuses might be that if one resident agrees, and then the home owners association sees it and the benefits to that type of garden, they may insist that all homes have a xeriscaped garden. This is an excuse that represents the slippery slope type of refutation against a claim of abuses of water usage. On the average, California residents within city limits use about 232 gallons of water per person per day (Hanek and Davis). This excess combined with expected population growth endangers the amount of water that is available and could end in serious shortages. While it would be civically minded for an HOA to require this type of landscaping for all residents, it is not rational to believe that people are going to be forced into using this type of landscaping. Often people will rationalize their over use of water through an emotional appeal. Because of the style of their home or the existing style of their landscaping they contend that they need to use extra water to maintain the lawn. In addition this excuse may be extended to an economic appeal in that they must maintain their lawn at a high level of hydration in order to continue the existing property values. Both of these appeals are short sighted and act on the idea that the needs of the individual are overriding the greater needs of the population. They are attempts to appeal to someone’s feelings of compassion in relationship to the losses that might occur due to this change. Lawns and landscaping are an obsession in the United States in which “60 million Americans, more than half the nation’s households, engage in some form of do-it-yourself gardening or lawn care; 26 million more spend a combined $17 billion a year hiring professionals to seed, fertilize, and mow their lawns for them. The land mass occupied by American lawns totals more than 25 million acres, an area about the size of Virginia” (Ratliff 39). In some ways the excuse to use a great deal of water can be interpreted as the ‘bandwagon fallacy’ because as most people believe they have a right, obligation, or need to have a lawn that both ...
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