An evaluation of urban landscape water use in Texas
Vol. 4 No. 2 (2013). Cover photo: As Texas continues to face water challenges and drought, many communities are seeking to conserve water in various sectors, including lawn and landscape water use. ©Jose Manuel Gelpi Diaz, Crestock.


ornamental plants
water use

How to Cite

Cabrera, R. I., Wagner, K. L., & Wherley, B. (2013). An evaluation of urban landscape water use in Texas. Texas Water Journal, 4(2), 14–27.


Irrigated agriculture is the largest user of water in Texas, followed by urban-municipal uses, which has landscape irrigation as its largest component. Data from various sources were used to estimate the extent of the state’s urban landscaped area and its associated water use. The statewide area in golf courses is estimated at 115,000 acres, while 1,608,399 acres are ascribed to managed landscapes and lawns. While the total annual water use by golf courses is estimated at 0.364 million acre-feet, the volume projected for the landscape sector ranges from a low of 1.898 million acre-feet to a high of 4.021 million acre-feet. The sum of water use by golf courses with the low-end estimate for landscapes would represent 46.6% of the total use within the urban/municipal water sector and 12.6% of the total annual demand by all activities in Texas during 2010. This effectively positions urban irrigation as the state’s third largest water user, after agricultural irrigation and other urban uses. Strategies and practices that can significantly conserve (reduce) water use for urban landscape irrigation include water-conserving native and adaptive plant materials, weather- and sensor-guided irrigation, deficit irrigation practices, and use of alternative (saline/brackish, reclaimed, and graywater) water sources.

Citation: Cabrera RI, Wagner KL, Wherley B. 2013. An evaluation of urban landscape water use in Texas. Texas Water Journal. 4(2):14-27. Available from:
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Copyright (c) 2013 Raul I. Cabrera, Kevin L. Wagner, Benjamin Wherley