Budget Cuts Waste Water

A dry river bed in the heart of Tehran. Water is more valuable in Iran than oil.

How much water do you use? We expect clean water when we turn on the faucet and forget that not everyone has lots of water. Not only Cape Town but three American cities could face severe water shortages soon.

Water is a valuable resource and the purpose of this post is for us to become aware of the amount of water we use. We are unaware where our water comes from and the chemicals with which we pollute it. Every time we turn on the tap we should think about the amount of water we use, and be thankful for clean drinkable water.
I am on a road trip through the southern part of the United States. Arkansas and Louisiana are dripping with water puddles overflowing streams, trees standing in water, wetness and mud everywhere. Oklahoma and Kansas are overcome with drought and wild fires. I realize some of this is normal for these areas, but not these extremes.

Budget cuts keep a running faucet from being fixed. Is there a volunteer to help?

Whether we live where it is wet or dry we should heighten our awareness of the amount of water we use. It is ridiculous to stay in a hotel where the water drips all night, and when informed they will usually write-up an order to try to get it fixed.
I was at Louisiana State University, and it was impossible to turn off the faucet in the restroom. When I reported the faucet to officials they said it had been like that for a while, “Budget cuts keep it from being fixed!” they told me. Could a volunteer near Alexandria, Louisiana fix that faucet? Constant running and wasting of water makes no sense!

With climate change many believe the wars of the future will be about water. Think about it, everyone making small changes and reducing the water they use can make a big difference!  Earth911 has good ideas to reduce water use, but should also add, fix those leaky faucets and toilets. Read here ways to reduce water use. https://earth911.com/home-garden/conserving-water-at-home/

Everyone making small changes, can make a big difference!

Drought becomes Flooding #ThirstyThursday

Common_LoonUpdated on June 11,

Minnesota has moved from drought to flooding.  The drought was a problem, but now can we manage all this heavy rain?  We have been trained to get this water away from our houses and off our land, but does flushing all this water down the storm drain help our yards and gardens? Some of the rain is absorbed, but most of this rain rushes into our storm sewers washing winter salt, and chemicals from our houses and yards into our lakes and streams. What can we do to slow water down and keep more water working to water our gardens and yards?  How can we keep our lakes and rivers clean?

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You don’t want this water in your basement so it needs to be diverted 10 feet away from your foundation as you manage this water, and try to keep it from gushing down the street and alleys

A few things you can do to improve water quality:

1. Redirect downspouts onto your lawn.

2. Plant native grasses and deep rooted plants to absorb water

3. Use less winter salt and less lawn chemicals.

4. Learn about rain gardens and find out if one is possible in your yard.   http://bluethumb.org/raingardens/

5. Keep sidewalks, driveways and streets free of leaves and debris.

6. Let your turf-lawn grow longer (3 inches)

7. Install a rain barrel to capture rain, and use this for watering plants.

World Water Day, What can you do?

Lake Superior
Lake Superior

Living in the land of Ten Thousand Lakes and having a love affair with Lake Superior, I know first hand that clean water is important!  I think of the West Coast of the United States and their severe drought every time I turn on the faucet.  Below are water saving ideas from me and The World Wildlife Federation.  This is serious.   Water will be the next “most valuable resource,” and our survival as a people depends on adequate sources of clean water.

My list gives you more specific action.  Here are ideas to help you protect the earth’s fresh water:

1. Reduce or eliminate all your use of chemicals in cleaning agents, and lawn and garden products.  Tough I know, Read on…

2. Baking soda and vinegar will clean almost anything. See my chemical free cleaner on my Reduce Chemicals Page: https://health4earth.com/reduce-chemicals/

3. Use plants in your yard that do not require chemicals(native plants) and reduce the size of your lawn.  Native plants also don’t need to be watered!  http://findnativeplants.com/

4. Install rain barrels under your drain spouts or put rain gardens in areas where your water drains. Use this water to water your plants.

5. Install a septic holding tank if your sewage does not drain into a public sewage system.

6. Purchase as many products you can afford that are organic or GMO free to reduce the amount of nitrates running into our lakes and streams.

7. Adopt a storm drain, keeping leaves, trash and yard waste from washing into our streams and lakes.

8. Never use cleaning materials that contain Triclosan.  http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/251323351.html

9. Purchase products made from recycled materials. Recycled paper uses 60-70% less energy than virgin pulp and 55% less water.

We love playing in our lakes
We love playing in our lakes

And from The World Wildlife Federation:

We all can do something to help fresh water. This World Water Day, March 22, you too can take action. Here’s how:

Raise a Glass…and Awareness
Express appreciation of fresh water by making a toast, taking a picture, and sharing it across social networks with #ToastToWater.

Crowdsource Scientific Data
Next time you’re near a river, stream or lake, take and pictures of the freshwater fish you encounter and upload them for conservation scientists around the world.

Adopt a Freshwater Species
Make a donation to symbolically adopt a freshwater species, such as a pink river dolphin or hellbender salamander.

Walk for Water 
Join WWF, the State Department and other conservation organizations in a 6k Walk for Water on April 23 to learn more about freshwater issues and how they impact people and nature. While the main event will be held in the District of Columbia, people around the world will take the symbolic walk and share their experience with #6kWaterWalk. Want to learn more? Join freshwater expert Karin Krchnak in a related #WaterTalk on April 2.

Build a Rain Barrel
The average roof collects 600 gallons of water for every inch of rain. Capture some of that stormwater and help protect freshwater resources by building a rain barrel.

Learn about Unseen Water
Water is in almost everything. Take your average cotton t-shirt as an example: it can take 2,700 liters to produce the cotton needed to make a single t-shirt. While it’s important to fix leaky taps and buy efficient washing machines, we need to also be conscious of the unseen or “virtual water” we consume every day.

http://lillienews.com/articles/2014/03/20/water-water-everywhere-not-drip-sink#.UyyZTKhdVNs

Thank you, at the end of the day, we will all be healthier!
Thank you, at the end of the day, we will all be healthier!

Yikes, Too Many Chemicals in our Lakes

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It is August and August is the best month of the summer.  The air is dry, nights are cool, and daylight still dominates. Sunsets are magnificent.

It is disheartening to hear the discussion of all the nitrates that are being deposited in our Minnesota lakes including Lake Superior.  Nitrates poison the lake, and cause thick algae to grow choking out good plants and light for the fish and other aquatic animals. Nitrates in the lakes are caused by fertilizers on our lawns and fertilizers in the production of crops.  What we put on our lawns and fields ends up in our lakes and streams.  Is this why some call August the “Dog Days of summer” because we have spent the summer poisoning our lakes?

Those of us who live in the land of lakes forget how lucky we are to have our beautiful lakes, and we all need to work for good lake quality whether it is being careful not to spread invasives or being aware of the chemicals we use. With climate change Texas and the Southwest USA are dealing with severe water shortage(see articles below).  Let’s take care of our wonderful water resource!

The below ideas for protecting our lakes is from the Superiorforum.org , Sigurd Olson Institute, Northland college, and the EPA, and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative:

  1. Be conservative with your water use.
  2. Recycle as much as you can with the 4 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle and repair.  And….NEVER burn trash.
  3. Curb Yard Pollution. Put your lawn on a chemical-free diet!!
  4. Stop aquatic invasives by cleaning plants and animals off your boat.
  5. Plant native plants, and reduce turf grass.
  6. Plant native trees  According to Audubon, oak trees are the best for attracting insects and birds.
  7. Install a rain barrel
  8. Create an energy-efficient  home.
  9. Bring hazardous waste to waste collection sites.
  10. Love our lakes!

I would add several more:

  1. Rain gardens are excellent for capturing harmful water runoff.
  2. Keep leaves and trash out of streets and storm drains-Adopt a storm drain!
  3. Never use cleaning products or hand sanitizer with triclosan.
  4. Reduce all plastic use–If you must use plastic bags and bottles, be sure you recycle them.

    We love playing in our lakes
    We love playing in our lakes

http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/about-mpca/mpca-news/current-news-releases/mpca-study-confirms-suspicions-high-nitrate-levels-in-southern-minnesota.html

http://www.npr.org/2013/08/11/211130501/the-algae-is-coming-but-its-impact-is-felt-far-from-water?ft=1&f=1001&sc=tw&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/about-mpca/mpca-news/current-news-releases/mpca-study-confirms-suspicions-high-nitrate-levels-in-southern-minnesota.html

http://unconsumption.tumblr.com/post/58098198181/plastic-beads-are-the-latest-pollution-threat-to-great#

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/11/texas-tragedy-ample-oil-no-water

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/35bdf2381af844658d7a5b5943ba38c5/NV–Western-Water-Colorado-River

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/219989751.html