Do you water your grass, or let nature take its course?
Do you water your grass, or let nature take its course? Mike Wells

'BROWN OUT': Is it okay to water your lawn during a drought?

WE ALL know people who are obsessed with their lawns.

But the once green lawns of the Northern Rivers are suffering a "brown out" due to drought, prompting householders to ask the age old question - to water your grass, or let nature take its course?

Neville King, of Bexhill, lives in "a little oasis amongst the dry".

Thanks to a 2600 gallon well on his property, his grass is "pleasing to the eye" - nice and green.

"I'm getting about an hour of watering a day but it's keeping the grass green."

Aside from his lawn around the house he cares for six acres - three of his own - and Mr King says the reason why his grass is so green is his mowing tactics over the past 31 years.

"The paddock still has green patches after 31 years of mowing and mulching over and over," he said.

"I don't mow my lawns low, I keep it up, even in the good times.

The problem, he said, was "people mow their lawns like bowling greens".

"My grass is 50mm high. I don't know why Australia needs to mow their grass down so low when they're a dry country.

"My grass because I've always kept it two inches high the roots of the grass are protected and any moisture you get doesn't dry out.

"I'm keen on buffalo because buffalo keeps out all the weeds, and I'm fortunate that I've got a lot of 40-years-old trees, because the lawns are all shaded they don't dry out.

"It's interesting, other people decide they don't need trees, and guess what, their grass is drying out."

Around the Lismore and Ballina regions we're only one dry summer away from water restrictions according to Rous County Council, but people need to act as if they applied now.

Rous County Council chair, Cr Keith Williams, said Rocky Creek Dam is at 85 per cent.

"Sprinklers on lawns use an enormous amount of water. If you need to water a garden, do it with a hand held hose late in the day," he said.

"Rous is working around the clock to secure our future water supply. We know that even as we reduce per household water consumption, population growth will mean we need an additional source of portable water in the near future.

"Our multi-pronged Future Water Strategy has been implementing water conservation and demand management as the first step, examining ground water, recycled water, desalination or an additional dam as options in a methodical, scientific approach."

The Sprinkler Debate

The Northern Star asked readers whether they water their lawns to keep it green, or had they given up and let the grass turn brown?:

Tara Thomas: "We don't water our grass, but we do water our garden. We feed our whole family with organic produce right out of our back yard. I think this is very important, so we do water daily to the veg and fruit. Grass is nice and brown though".

Garin M. Knudson: "Use alternatives like taking a bucket into the shower and tip what it collects onto the lawn. If everyone in the family does that every day you can cover quite of bit of lawn".

Hollie Jordan: "I personally don't see the point in using water to water the lawn whilst we are on water restrictions and in a drought. Save it for when it's really needed".

Helen Von Meyer-Moore: "In my opinion watering lawns with a sprinkler or hose during a drought is extremely wasteful and irresponsible".

Cameron Patton: "Every house should have water tanks that are used for toilet and washing machines and can be managed for garden watering. Town water should be just used for drinking".

Charmain Hardie: "People only water their lawns for house pride. Let it go brown, soon as it rains its green again then everyone complains they have to mow it".

Carla Evans: "I water the grass so my children have soft grass to play on. But I do it late afternoon with vegetables n plants so it's not wasted".