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BYU study finds half of Utah residents waste water on their lawns

June 14, 2022 -  By
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About half of Utah residents are still overwatering, according to a study conducted by a Brigham Young University professor.

The Standard-Examiner reports findings from Rob Sowby, a BYU civil and construction engineering professor who’s lent expertise to more than 200 civil engineering projects in North America.

Sowby analyzed how often Utah residents irrigate, the size of their yards and how healthy their grass is using aerial photography. He also examined thousands of anonymous customers’ water bills in two Utah County cities with different water rates.

“With that information, we have this very accurate picture of the water use, the landscape, area and the landscape health over thousands of customer parcels in these two cities,” Sowby told The Standard-Examiner. “So it tells us what customers are actually doing with their landscapes as far as water use, and the landscape health.”

Findings point to half of those involved in the study overwatering their lawns and those who water too much ultimately having less healthy lawns.

“We now know that this is how real people irrigate, they don’t really know what they’re doing,” Sowby told the newspaper. “What we found is that as you apply more water, the landscapes do get greener and healthier, but it kind of peaks out after a certain point, and then it starts to decline after that. Putting more water on doesn’t help after a certain amount.”

To avoid overwatering, Sowby recommends following the Weekly Lawn Watering Guide from the Utah Division of Water Resources or the use of smart irrigation controllers.

“If we can identify those users and encourage them to cut back, their water use will decline, their bills will go down and their landscapes will probably look better,” Sowby told The Standard-Examiner.

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