This is the day! I’m joining thousands of other bloggers to talk about water, a resource we must protect. I started my post with this photo that I took on a trip to Costa Rica because it is a country rich in water resources, which they use to produce clean energy and work to provide clean water for all. They are a good model to follow.
Yesterday I promised to talk about some ideas for solutions, small steps we can all take, to save this wonderful resource. Great organizations are working on solutions to empower us to do our part to address the water crisis, such as these from the Natural Resources Defense Council:
1. Correctly dispose of hazardous household products. Keep paints, used oil, cleaning solvents, polishes, pool chemicals, insecticides, and other hazardous household chemicals out of drains, sinks, and toilets. Many of these products contain harmful substances — such as sodium hypochlorite, petroleum distillates, phenol and cresol, ammonia and formaldehyde — that can end up in nearby water bodies. Contact your local sanitation, public works, or environmental health department to find out about hazardous waste collection days and sites.* If a local program isn’t available, request one.
2. Recycle and dispose of all trash properly. Never flush non-degradable products — such as disposable diapers or plastic tampon applicators — down the toilet. They can damage the sewage treatment process and end up littering beaches and waters.
3. Use natural fertilizers. Apply natural fertilizer such as compost, manure or bone meal whenever possible. Ask your local hardware and garden supply stores to stock these natural fertilizers. You can also buy a composting setup at a garden supply or hardware store, or by mail. Composting decreases the need for fertilizer and helps soil retain moisture. If you don’t know how to compost, visit The Compost Resource Page or the EPA’s composting pages or call the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Office, 479-444-1755, to get pamphlets on composting.
4. Decrease impervious surfaces around your home. Having fewer hard surfaces of concrete and asphalt will improve drainage around your home and in your yard. Do your landscaping with vegetation, gravel or other porous materials instead of cement; install wood decking instead of concrete, and interlocking bricks and paver stones for walkways. Redirect rain gutters and downspouts to soil, grass or gravel areas. Planting vegetation at lower elevations than nearby hard surfaces allows water to seep into the soil, increasing the ground water level.
5. Be an activist. Contact your public officials and attend hearings to encourage them to support laws and programs to protect our water. Ask officials to control polluted runoff, increase protection for wetlands and other aquatic ecosystems, reduce the flow of toxics into our waterways, and strengthen enforcement. Volunteer for a beach or stream clean up, tree planting, water quality sampling, or stream pollution monitoring project sponsored by a local environmental group or watershed council. Visit NRDC’s Earth Action Center to get government contact information and learn about urgent issues you can get in involved in.
6. Drop the Bottle: Reducing the amount of bottled water we use helps cut back on petroleum, carbon emissions, and of course, waste. It also helps protect ecosystems in rural areas where spring water is mined, often with little regulation on how much water can be pumped. Instead of spending money on bottled water, we should be directing our efforts to making sure all of our water infrastructure is properly maintained and that everyone has clean, affordable water coming from their taps.
The suggestions above are all easy to do and simple to teach to others. Our down spouts are connected to perforated pipes in the ground to trap all of the roof run-off. I only use organic products in the garden, we recycle everything we can AND we’ve dropped the bottle! We have a whole-house water filter so we drink our tap water and carry it with us in safe containers, unlike the plastic water bottles. To get started, just pick one thing to do. If everyone in the world did that, think what a great change for the better we could accomplish. Save our water, our most important resource.