Water conservation is a topic that has been getting a lot of attention. The USDA drought monitor map, shown here, shows South Dakota with few areas in slight to moderate drought. But, further West and South, we we can see the extent and severity of dry conditions.

One question for homeowners will be how to conserve and use water wisely while still having an attractive landscape. Lawns use the most water of any landscape feature. Cutting back on lawn area reduces both water and fertilizer usage, Thus conserving and preserving.

Using drought resistant plants need not have an arid look. A good design plan will enhance the landscape and conserve water. Mulching around plants conserves moisture in the ground and decomposes to enrich the soil.

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Watering only when needed helps to conserve water and money. Technological changes in irrigation systems allows homeowners to cut back on water usage. Drip irrigation for gardens lets the water go directly to the roots, where it's needed. Watering early in the morning, when temperatures are lower, deters evaporation.

Rain barrels have become more attractive in their design and can fit into any landscape without being an eyesore. Rain gardens, which help prevent the runoff of pollutants and silt, have become popular with both homeowners and community planners.

Remembering that all the water we have today is all the water we will ever have will help us to make good decisions and changes to our use of water.