I know weeping willows are greedy for water, but I yearn for that sort of flowing greenery amid my desert landscaping. Catching roof runoff probably wouldn't provide enough water. What alternatives for trees or watering can you suggest?
Dean ~ Las Vegas, Nevada
Hi Dean, perhaps you might want to try a combination of irrigation systems to green up your desert landscaping. As you mentioned, collecting water from roof runoff in Las Vegas is probably not going to provide enough water, but you might want to still install some sort of collection system so that when you do get some rain, it can be used on your landscaping.
The second system I would suggest is collecting the "gray" water from your home and using it for watering your plants and trees. "Gray" water is the water used in your home that isn't contaminated by waste. Water that runs down your tub, shower, and sink drains can be collected and filtered so that it's suitable for lawn irrigation. A plumbing contractor would need to come in to install the collection system and if you happen to have a home with an unfinished basement, the cost shouldn't be too high.
These "gray" water collection systems are gaining in popularity due to the increased concern with making homes more energy efficient, but they're still not approved for all jurisdictions. If you live right in Las Vegas, you might want to check with the City's building department to find out if they're approved there or talk to a local plumbing contractor as I'm sure they would know. If you live in one of the surrounding counties, give one of their plumbing inspectors a call.
My last suggestion would be to install an underground irrigation system which I would think are probably very popular in Nevada. This type of system isn't as "green" as my first two suggestions, but if you install a zone system and use timers, you can regulate the amount of water used to the minimum needed to keep your desert landscaping green. You can even install drip type irrigation systems that make sure the water is getting right to the roots of your weeping willow trees with a minimum of evaporation.
Of course one last thought would be to contact some local landscaping contractors to find out if there is any type of greenery that might thrive in local conditions without needing to be supplemented with additional water. Surely there are some shrubs and trees that do well in your local climate.