From "CALIFORNIA Greenery sucking up more of state's water" by Patrick Hoge, San FranciscoChronicle Staff Writer
Thirsty home landscaping, particularly lawns, will suck up an increasingly burdensome amount of water in California over the next 25 years unless big changes are made, according to a new report by the Public Policy Institute of California.
The state is expected to add 11 million new residents by 2030, and at least half are expected to locate in hotter, inland areas where single-family homes with lush lawns are popular, according to the report.
"Do the math,'' said study co-author Ellen Hanak, an economist with the institute in San Francisco. "We're facing the prospect of many more people with more lawns and gardens in the states hottest, driest regions. That adds up to a lot of water."
Landscaping currently accounts for at least half of all residential water demand, according to the report.
Without new conservation efforts, the amount of water going to outdoor landscaping is predicted to rise by 1.2 million acre feet a year -- enough to serve roughly 4.8 million people. California cities and suburbs currently use about 9 million acre-feet of water a year.
One option is to create an edible yard instead of lawn, sometimes called an Edible Estate.
From http://pruned.blogspot.com/2005/09/edible-estates.html: Edible Estates pits Thomas Jefferson against...Thomas Jefferson! It's the farm against the lawn, arguably the two most indelible landscape expression of Jeffersonian democracy.
“Edible Estates proposes the replacement of the American lawn with a highly productive domestic edible landscape. Food grown in our front yards will connect us to the seasons, the organic cycles of the earth and our neighbors. The banal lifeless space of uniform grass in front of the house will be replaced with the chaotic abundance of bio-diversity. In becoming gardeners we will reconsider our connection to the land, what we take from it and what we put in it. Each yard will be a unique expression of its location and of the inhabitant and their desires. Valuable land will be put to work.”
It's the heroic farmer vs. the consumerist suburban dweller, Thoreau vs. modernity. Who will come out victorious? Stay tuned.