Tuesday, August 25, 2009

National Water Quality Month Helps Us Focus on Saving Water Too

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© photo copyright 2009 Carrie Boyko
Toni Bathes Oliver
in Solar-Heated Warm Water

Water, water, water. There are so many issues with water. Did you ever think about why? Water makes up the greatest volume of Earth's surface. We drink it, we bathe and swim in it, we heat it and cool it for various reasons, and we use tons of it for washing clothes, cars and watering lawns; all its uses have their inherent challenges.

August is National Water Quality month, a time for us to reflect on how our over-consumption affects water quality. For instance, I live on a lake where many homeowners over-water their lawns. This causes excessive runoff of fertilizers and other toxic chemicals that degrade the quality of the water in our lake. Being aware of the damage caused by over watering, not only saves water, but improves water quality. They're tied together.

Since I started my green journey, I have noticed that saving water is much easier than, for instance, saving money or gasoline. When I think about it every time a faucet comes on, I naturally turn it right back off and think about how I can use less. I've found tremendous inspiration in the smallest things.

For example, all melted ice in glasses and leftover water from almost anything, including steaming vegetables, goes toward watering the houseplants. I almost never run water down a sink, except to wash the toothpaste down or cleaners (all natural, of course) down the drain.

© photo copyright Carrie Boyko 2009

Oliver, Soaking Wet, Hides by the Rain Barrel

I've noticed my water bill go down by 20%, with simple changes to my routines. Our rain barrel, collects the summer afternoon down pours and stays full at this time of year. You can see it in the photo above, painted beautifully for my porch with a garden scene. I wish I had another one to sustain us during the next drought. Amazon has 165 for you to choose from. Paint your own or buy one that looks like a flower pot:

It also feels good to save power when we do things like wash the dogs in solar-heated water, set out in the kiddie pool to warm up in the sun. Come to think of it, when we save up our laundry to only run full loads, we're saving water and electricity. That's a two-fer, huh?!!

Anybody out there have some creative ways to save water at home? Let me hear from you. And while you're at it, give me an update on your homework assignment from last Friday's post. What? You missed it? It's not too late to play our game, with the money I've passed out: Let's Go Shopping! Click and get started. There's a deadline--chop! chop!


Nature lovers? On Friday I have a new guest post at Central Florida Green Guide. You'll find resources on canoeing, kayaking or tubing the Wekiva River at Immerse Yourself in Central Florida's Natural Beauty.

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