August is National Water Quality Month! Adapting smart ways to conserve and reduce the use of fresh water is vital for a better future.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dedicated this month to promoting the conservation and protecting the quality of our limited water resources. As of today, only 0.3 percent of Earth’s water is fresh and usable to humans and other living things.
The water we use comes from two sources: ground and surface. Ground water makes up one percent of the usable water, and it includes aquifers and other sources buried underground. The second source is surface water which includes lakes, rivers, and terrestrial sources.
Having access to safe and clean water is a privilege. That’s why we need to learn how we can play a part to preserve it. Below you’ll find simple ways you can protect and reduce the use of water at home.
- Check for leaks in plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems. The average U.S. household leaks waste is 10,000+ gallons of water a year. This equals 270+ loads of laundry.
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and shaving.
- Take fewer baths and shorter showers. Replacing the shower head with a WaterSense-labeled model will save you energy, money, and 2,700 gal of water.
- Whenever possible, use the dishwasher instead of cleaning dishes by hand. If you don’t have a dishwasher, turn off the tap or use a wash basin.
- Use appropriate water level or load size selection when doing laundry.
- Practice smart watering for your landscape. Knowing how much water your plants need will help you control the irrigation system efficiently.
- Use a rain barrel to collect rainwater. This saves money by reusing water in your home.
- Avoid washing your car at home to prevent toxic chemicals from being flushed down the drains an into our lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans.
- Pick up after your pet. The nitrogen in animal waste can remove oxygen from the water. Water without oxygen becomes unusable for aquatic life.
- Use safe fertilizers. Chemicals in these products (like phosphorus) can leak into nearby groundwater sources.
- Do not disregard used oil down the drain. Instead, take it to a service or recycling center.
- Do not flush medication down the toilet.
- Use biodegradable cleaners (lemon, tea tree oil, backing soda and vinegar) or phosphate-free detergents. Chemicals in regular products are toxic to marine life.
You can find more tips and resources at the National Water Quality website.
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