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So as I am planting trees and vegetable garden... it occurs to me that If I am not careful, I could end up with a big water bill.

That said, I want to find a way to figure out just how much water I'll be "spending", how much I can "bank" and how much I can expect to get from the sky or the ground (little).

What I am really look for is data I can plug into EXCEL. If I can geek it up and base my watering schedule on type/age of tree and average daily temperature by month I should be able to figure out how many gallons I will need (more or less).

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Do you have a pool? If so, that will kill your water bill. Also, we have kids, so we have to wash a lot of clothes, and bathe a lot of stinky kids (and us too) so that also kills your water bill.


We always use our backwash water from our pool to water our grass, raised beds or trees. Its usually full of algae which is also good for the plants. We use primarily enzymes to keep the pool clear and only use chlorine when we absolutely have to in the hottest part of the summer. Even if we all only owned one outfit and showered as a family (weird) we would never use less then the minimum allotment. Bummer.

What I am really looking for is a way to plug in the kinds of trees I am planting into the formulas provided in this document:

It would be awesome to put together a website that could give you a water use calculation for a yard based on the formulas allowing users to input their data--if there is not already such a site out there that I cannot find.

We are just two people, no pool, will be using shower water to irrigate backyard fruit trees or supplement watering.

Wow, that really is geeking out. Would be a great tool to have a website that walked you through it.

found this. You'd probably have to input your own estimated values for fruit trees and veggie gardens as it only calculates for lawn water, but this seems like a nice tool...


I imagine you all are getting tired of seeing me posting references to the same booklet over and over...but...the Landscape Watering by the Numbers PDF (FREE online resource can be found here: can walk you through the basics of calculating water use.  Of course how much water you need will vary by season, soil type, plant species, plant maturity, etc - so at best you will be calculating a moving target.  But these calculations are very worthwhile to do! 

Have you estimated how much rainfall you can harvest from your roof yet?  Brad Lancaster has posted some good info on doing various calculations on his website:

(the link to the AgriLife RWH Calculator was broken on Brad's site but I included it here.)

Plus you will probably start thinking about getting as much greywater you can to your yard and of course the outdoor shower will soon follow...

outdoor shower coming in late february, installed gutters on front of house this month, backyard in march, looking for good deals on tanks larger than 55 gallons.

i was looking for the watering by the numbers doc... we should make it a sticky somewhere on the site


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