Lawn & Garden Conservation

Our "20 by 20" Conservation goal

In 2008, Madison's Water Conservation & Sustainability Plan outlined an ambitious goal: Drop daily per person water use in the city by 20 percent -- from 73 gallons to 58 gallons -- by the year 2020. It appears we are well on our way. Madisonians currently use 61 gallons of water per person per day, but there's more work to be done to reach our goal. If you have an older toilet, consider taking advantage of our toilet rebate program to replace it with a high-efficiency model. Take a look at some of our conservation tips to see how you can use less, and learn how to spot leaks in your home.

graphic outlining conservation plan

Even as our population rises in Madison, good conservation practices will ensure that our overall water use as a city will stay the same. And that means paying close attention to how much water we're using on our lawns and gardens.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Water Use

Pie chart comparing indoor and outdoor water use

On average, 30% of residential water consumption is devoted to outdoor use. But according to the EPA, as much as half of the water we use on our lawns and gardens gets wasted because of overwatering, improper landscape design and evaporation.

Outdoor Conservation Tips

Tips for outdoor water conservation

  • An established lawn only needs one inch of water per week. Use a rain gauge and take a look at our lawn watering guide.
  • Avoid cutting more than 1/3 the length of the grass at one mowing.
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn, spreading out clumps; the clippings will disappear after giving up their moisture and nitrogen.
  • Use a rain barrel. Capturing water from gutters and downspouts in a well-designed rain barrel conserves the municipal supply while providing the best water for lawn and garden.
  • Use native plants, which need little water beyond normal rainfall. Or install a rain garden: City of Madison Engineering, Water Quality Initiatives, Rain Garden