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Water Use in South Carolina

Our South Carolina water resources help producers grow the crops we eat, supply drinking water when we turn on the tap, and support industry and our outdoor lifestyle. It is important to recognize how we use water in our community so that we can each do our part to help conserve this important resource. Do you know who is the biggest user of water in South Carolina? It may not be who you think.

Graph of water use that is adapted from the SC DHEC Water Use Report

Graph of water use that is adapted from the SC DHEC Water Use Report

The average American family uses more than 30% of its water on irrigating their lawn or garden. Barbara Smith, ©2020, Clemson Extension

The average American family uses more than 30% of its water on irrigating their lawn or garden.
Barbara Smith, ©2020, Clemson Extension

According to the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, the biggest user of water in the state of South Carolina is… us! Excluding water used for power supply, municipal water supply made up more than 50% of the reported water used in South Carolina in 2018 (SCDHEC 2019). That water provided us with clean drinking water when we turned on the tap for a cool drink, a hot shower, or a load of dirty laundry. And don’t forget – the sprinkler! The average American family uses more than 30% of its water on irrigating their lawn or garden. Across the US, that means seven billion gallons are used to water our lawns and gardens per day. But keep this sobering EPA factoid in mind: Of those 7 billion gallons of water, unfortunately, more than 50% can be wasted due to poor irrigation practices. (Your wallet says ouch.)

Read on for more tips on how to better manage your backyard water use to help reduce the amount of water needed and to wisely use the water applied, in order to keep your garden and lawn summer-ready.

Conserve water in the landscape.
HGIC 1724 Conserving Water in Your Landscape

Consider native plants or drought tolerant landscape alternatives.|
HGIC 1852 An Introduction to Native Plants for SC Landscapes
HGIC 1717 Plants That Tolerate Drought

Water your lawn wisely.
HGIC 1207 Watering Lawns

Set up a rain barrel to capture rainfall for your flower garden.
Clemson Extension’s Rainwater Harvesting for Homeowners

Source:

  1. SCDHEC, 2019. South Carolina Water Use Report 2018 Summary. URL: https://dc.statelibrary.sc.gov/bitstream/handle/10827/30763/DHEC_Water_Use_Report_2018_Summary_2019-05.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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