Sometimes I wish I would learn to keep my mouth shut…..
Here’s what happened:
My office sits in the front of my house and overlooks our front porch, which overlooks our front yard. Across the yard and across the street is a “common area” of our neighborhood. There is no house across the street from us – instead there is a strip of grass. This lawn part is maintained by a professional landscaping service, which includes maintaining the water schedule for the sprinkler system. This area and the service is paid for by the dues that are collected from our Home Owners Association.
While I sit and work, I notice that everyday around 4pm the water sprinklers go on and run for about 30-40 minutes. The west sun is beating down on this patch of grass, it is in full sun. I was always taught to not water the lawn in the heat of the day so you could maximize absorption and reduce evaporation.
I emailed the maintenance person on the Board of the Home Owners Association asking about the timing of the watering and wondered if we were wasting water (and money). I wasn’t sure if they were aware of the time that the sprinklers were set to go off.
It took about two weeks to hear a reply and in that time, I noticed that the sprinklers also came on around 6am every morning.
The first reply I heard back was “Thanks Amy, I’ll look into it and adjust it, but the landscaping company oversees that and might change it back.“
To which I replied that I was also concerned about the twice daily watering schedule, inquiring if this was necessary from both a water usage standpoint as well as economical.
I even included in my email this line “For the record – I’m coming from my Texas mindset, where water is conserved drastically. I just hate to see water being wasted and taken for granted.”
The reply that I got was the heartbreaking part: “I water my lawn twice a day. I go with (landscaping company’s name) settings since they are supposed to be the lawn specialist.”
There are so many things I find disheartening about this attitude, here’s a little background information:
- We live in the Pacific NW – outside of Seattle. Seattle and the Puget Sound Region is known for its rain – it rains about nine months out of the year. In the twenty years that I have lived here – the words “water conservation” have never been spoken, to my knowledge.
- But I’m from (born and raised) South/Central Texas. My family and friends have been in a severe drought for the last three years and over the last decade and more, water conservation is a way of life.
- Just because we have plenty of rain and snow-pack here doesn’t give us the right to be wasteful – and only for what – green grass?
- The type of grass we plant out here needs to be able to withstand cold, wet conditions. Because of this, when it is dry and hot, it goes dormant – turning brown. Once it cools off and starts raining again in the fall- it greens back up. I admit, I don’t like brown, crunchy grass that our lawns turn into in the late summer. Lawns can be kept green by over-watering; but in order to keep it green – it needs more and more water.
That’s a lot of information about our grass.
I understand that people want green lawns and we live in a neighborhood (where I have never felt that I truly fit in) who wants to live up to an “image”. They probably hate that my lawn is brown and dormant all summer long. As you can guess, I don’t water much. In fact, my summer lawn maintenance motto is – “I only water enough so my grass doesn’t blow away.“
I think that is the part that bothers me the most – the fact that we’d rather “waste” water (in my opinion, it is wasting) just to keep our lawns green. But the biggest thing is the reply and the flippant attitude. The “I water my lawn twice a day.” or as I read it “I don’t care about wasting water, I want a green lawn” Did he even read or take into consideration where I was coming from….he’s obviously never had to live with water shortage and couldn’t even see my angle.
I didn’t reply, instead I’ve just been sad about it. I can’t change his mind. His response matches the general attitude of the neighbors – and I just don’t fit in. They have every right to spend their money on what they feel is important to them. I guess they have their own right to use our natural resources to how they seem appropriate…even if I don’t agree with them.
I’m ashamed that by virtue of me living here – I’m associated with their attitudes and viewpoints. And now – a week or more later, I’m still heartbroken. I’m saddened by his attitude, by the general attitude of the neighbors and by all the wastefulness that is happening…that I’m a witness to…right outside of my front yard….