Chart of the Day: Water Use per Crop (Lawn vs Agriculture)

Via Scienceline, here’s a chart showing the amount of acre-feet of water used in a year for different “crops” in the US. It’s a cumulative total, represnting just how much “lawn” there is on the country, versus all the agricultural land.

Here you go:

water use graph lawn v crops

You can see that there’s an awful lot of lawn, and its very thirsty. It’s an additional thing to think about as we discuss setbacks, lot sizes, etc. Minnesota doesn’t necessarily have water shortages, but especially for places that rely on groundwater (like many of the suburbs), keeping the lawn green is a big drain on the water supply.

The article itself goes into detail on the relationship between lawn (aka. turf grass) — coming from homes, golf courses, and parks —  and the US water supply, which varies a lot depending on region.


Here’s a map!


Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.