USGS - science for a changing world

The USGS Water Science School

Opinion SurveyHandling your water crisis:
Mandatory restrictions on water use

Let's look at some Ups and Downs of this option:

The Upside

On the upside, water restrictions are cheap -- you don't need to buy any equipment. Restricting (or banning) outdoor watering will save water. Another plus is that some people reconsider having large yards that need constant watering. They might decide to re-landscape using xeriscaping (putting in plants that don't demand much water), thus saving water in the future.

The Downside

There are actually quite a few downsides to this option that aren't obvious:

Here in Atlanta, Ga. we often have watering restrictions in the summer. We are allowed to water only every other day. Does this save water? Maybe some, yes. But, I can use all I want on Tuesday rather than Monday. What the restriction does is even out water usage.

What if all outdoor watering is banned? In this case, some water is saved. But at what cost? People's bushes and grass might die, meaning the homeowner will have to spend money to replace them later. That is a negative.

Another downside -- animosity toward you, Mr./Ms. Mayor for imposing rules on people. A certain percentage of the population doesn't like to be told what they can and can't do, especially by the government! Also, some people will use water even if it is against the rules, which means less water will be saved.

What do you think? After reading this page, do you think water restrictions may not save quite as much water as you first thought? What do your classmates think?

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