What is World Water Day?
March 22nd is World Water Day which was founded by the General Assembly of the United Nations and is a day that we should all take time to think about our water. Water is an essential part of life; we need it in order to sustain ourselves. This year’s theme for World Water Day is Groundwater – making the invisible visible. So, let’s take the initiative to learn about ways we can protect our groundwater and save this precious resource for future generations.
Let’s celebrate this important day with a list of ten ways you can begin to protect groundwater at your home.
What is Groundwater?
Most of us probably give little thought to groundwater, but it makes up the majority of drinking water in the United States. What is groundwater exactly? It’s the water we get from wells, springs, and aquifers under the ground and is the water that fills in the spaces between soil particles, sand or gravel underground.
The problem is that it takes decades for groundwater to be naturally replenished. That fact, combined with a growing population and increased industrialization, has created a situation where our groundwater table is depleting in many parts of the world.
One of the most common misconceptions about groundwater is that there is a lot of it — that when it comes to water, we’re not going to run out any time soon. But while water may seem plentiful, in truth, groundwater is not an unlimited resource. In truth, it is a valuable resource that must be managed wisely. World Water Day reminds us that we need to protect this important source of drinking water.
Here are 10 ways you can help protect this critical water resource:
- Plant Native – Use native plants in your landscape, since they tend to require less water and fertilizer than non-native plants. Choose grass varieties for your lawn that are adapted for your region’s climate, reducing the need for extensive watering or chemical applications.
- Use fewer Chemicals – Use fewer chemicals around your home and yard, and make sure to dispose of them properly – don’t dump them on the ground! Limit how much fertilizer and pesticides you use on your lawn and garden. Better yet, look for Green alternatives to harmful chemicals.
- Manage Waste – Properly dispose of hazardous waste, such as paint, motor oil and cleaning chemicals. Call your town hall or local health department and ask if they have a household hazardous waste collections site or plan on holding a household hazardous waste collection day.
- Check for Leaks and drips – Check your plumbing system regularly for dripping faucets or any leaky pipes and repair right away. You’d be surprised how much water is wasted through leaks and drips.
- Water Wisely – Water your lawn only when absolutely necessary and use a timer to avoid over-watering. Water the lawn and plants during the coolest parts of the day and obey any watering restrictions during dry periods.
- Use Natural Alternatives – Use phosphate-free detergents that do not promote excessive algae growth in waterways. Use all natural/nontoxic household cleaners whenever possible. Materials such as lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar make great cleaning products, are inexpensive, and environmentally-friendly.
- Use the Carwash – Take advantage of your city’s car wash that recycles water rather than washing your car at home with a hose.
- Conserve Water – At home, conserve water by taking shorter showers, filling the dishwasher and washing machine before using them, using a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks, and turning off the water while shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Use water wise appliances -Install low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and washing machines and toilets that use less water.
- Don’t pour it down the drain – Anything you pour or flush down your drain can eventually contaminate the groundwater. Using this method to dispose of products that contain harmful substances can affect your septic system’s ability to treat human wastes. Once in the ground, these harmful substances can eventually contaminate the groundwater. In addition, most community waste water treatment plants are not designed to In addition, water treatment plants are not designed to treat many of these substances. Thus, they can eventually be discharged into bodies of surface water and cause contamination.
Here’s to looking after our groundwater, and doing our part to protect it for generations to come. With a little effort and the right resources, we can all do our part to protect groundwater. Let’s take care of this precious resource and keep it safe for future generations. Happy World Water Day!