Should Minnesotans water their yards less?

Per capita daily water use

Household water use tends to be greater in outlying suburbs than elsewhere in the Twin Cities. Because lawn watering makes up a huge portion of water use, the figures depend heavily on lot size, tree cover and other factors. Click for details on each city. Most cities with more than 10,000 people are included. Figures are based on city reports to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which can be inconsistent. St. Paul, for example, doesn't include most apartment dwellers in the residential total it reports, lowering the per-capita use figure. Several other cities contacted by MPR News said they also include bigger apartment buildings in the "commercial" reporting category rather than residential. DNR officials say they are trying to standardize the way cities report the data to get a more accurate picture of residential water use. Golden Valley, New Hope and Columbia Heights get their water from Minneapolis but the rates for Minneapolis shown on the map do not account for use in those cities.

"I don't know that we're at a point where we can't have lawns, but as we watch the trends and the water supply and where our water is coming from, we might want to be more careful," said Dave Leuthe, a water conservation specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Residential water use varies widely in the Twin Cities. Andover, an Anoka County suburb of 30,000, is the biggest per capita user, according to an MPR News analysis of data the DNR collects from cities. In the five years ending in 2012, Andover residents used about 120 gallons of water a day, twice the amount Minneapolis residents use, for example.

That kind of discrepancy among cities makes lawn watering a prime target when Leuthe and other officials talk about conserving groundwater.

Read the rest of this story from MPR News reporter Elizabeth Dunbar

Today's Question: Should Minnesotans water their yards less?

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