HOW MUCH WATER DO WE USE IN
|Taking a bath or shower||15-30 gallons|
|Watering the lawn||180 gallons|
|Washing the dishes||15-60 gallons|
|Washing clothes||30 gallons|
|Flushing the toilet||4-7 gallons|
|Brushing teeth||1 gallon|
SHOW YOUR BLUE
It's that time of year again--National Drinking Water Week! This week brings attention to our most precious natural resource--water. Taking care of our water resources should be second nature to everyone. This national campaign from May 1-7, 1994, is a call to action on drinking water issues. People are urged to use their "Blue Thumbs" to conserve water, protect it, and get involved in their local communities. The Blue Thumb concept provides a means of acknowledging deeds that protect our water resources. Having a Blue Thumb means we not only care for water, we show it through our actions.
National Drinking Water Week Blue Thumb programs are the result of coordinated efforts by the National Drinking Water Alliance, which includes the Cooperative Extension System, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Water Works Association, and the American Groundwater Trust. Support is provided by the League of Women Voters, the Water Education Foundation, the American Water Works Association Foundation, the American Library Association, and the National Geographic Society.
The Blue Thumb Program, an international public service water-awareness campaign to commemorate National Drinking Water Week, promotes water-responsible actions through educational and informational events -- and through a national media campaign. Throughout the week, educational events in libraries, schools, drinking water treatment plants, malls, and city halls are held. Groups schedule river clean-ups, hazardous waste collections, and other pollution-fighting efforts. The media spreads the word on how important knowledge and action are to safeguarding our public drinking water supplies.
Water needs our help. We have the same amount of water today as we did when the
Earth was formed. Constant use and pollution threatens this resource. For
example, 600,000 pounds of pollutants are pouring into our water resources every
day -- and that's just industrial waste! Experts estimate that nonpoint
pollution, that is, agricultural and urban runoff, as well as residential
pollution, threatens our water resources more than industry. Here are some
The Blue Thumb Program shows us how to take better care of our water resource. It promotes three basic actions as the keys to water care: water conservation, pollution protection, and involvement with local drinking water issues. The National Drinking Water Alliance dedicates National Drinking Water Week to beginning some simple water-wise actions and habits. The Alliance has developed "7 Ways in 7 Days," a water conservation or protection tip for every day of the week.
Sunday. Save water when you turn on the tap for drinking by filling
a pitcher with tap water and putting it in your refrigerator. You'll have a
refreshing beverage readily at hand and you'll save water by not running the tap
each time you or family members are thirsty.
Monday. Conserve. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. This easy action could save each person about 100 gallons of water a month.
Tuesday. Water yards only when necessary. Listen to the weather forecast. Make it a habit to know when Mother Nature plans to water the garden so you won't have to.
Wednesday. Put a box in the basement or garage, out of reach of children and pets, to collect household products that can contaminate water. Some cleaners, solvents, paints, and auto fluids contain toxic substances. Dispose of them at a special collection center.
Thursday. Safeguard your family from possible lead exposure. If you have lead in your plumbing system, let the water run until it is cold when you turn on the tap before drinking or cooking with it. Save the flushed water for your plants.
Friday. Another good way to conserve is to take a shorter shower, or install a low-flow shower head. Water savings can really add up when you control the flow -- you could save about 450 gallons a month!
Saturday. Cut water waste. Check for leaking faucets, toilets, or pipes around the house. Each leak could cost you 10 gallons per day.
The Alliance estimates that if everyone practiced "7 Ways for 7 Days" during National Drinking Water Week, the savings would be at least 1 billion gallons of water and 20 million pounds of toxics diverted from entering our water resources. That is why it's important that these actions become second nature.
To encourage people to get involved in water decisions at both the community and
personal levels, many of the successful Blue Thumb activities from the past 2
years are being planned across the country and in Canada. These local community
You can practice "Blue Thumb" actions at home, at work, at school, and in any public place. Each day we are confronted with scores of decisions that affect drinking water. We have the opportunity to make a water decision every time we reach out our hand to turn on the tap and every time we notice a dripping faucet, see a business running its sprinklers on a rainy day, buy toxic cleaners, put fertilizer on the lawn, choose to buy recycled paper products, or read about a public meeting on local land use. We can make a difference if we practice the Blue Thumb basics of conserving, protecting, and getting involved.
FERTILIZER BMPs FOR YOUR
A nice-looking, well-maintained lawn enhances the value of your property. A lawn should be a source of homeowner pride. Your lawn is not only an attractive part of your landscape, but it also helps to tie your home and landscaping together.
A healthy, good looking lawn actually helps improve your living environment. On a hot day your lawn reduces the glare of the sun. Your lawn can also help keep surrounding areas cooler. A well-maintained lawn is much more attractive than pavement! Your lawn will attract birds and other wildlife. On windy days your lawn will trap dust particles from the air. And most importantly your lawn protects the soil on your property from erosion.
Inputs such as pesticides, fertilizers, and water when used incorrectly may adversely impact surface and/or groundwater quality. To protect the environment and water quality you should use Best Management Practices (BMPs), which are defined as implemented strategies that eliminate or minimize environmental pollution. BMPs are designed to be compatible with good, sound lawn management. BMPs can protect the environment without compromising the beauty of your lawn.
Why should homeowners be concerned about fertilizer use on lawns?
Fertilizer management BMPs you should implement on your lawn
|Q.||How much N, P, K, and S do I need if my lawn is actively growing for 6 months per year?|
|A.||0.5 pound N/1,000 ft2/month X 6 months = 3.0 pounds N/1,000 ft2|
|3 lb N||1 lb P||2 lb K||1 lb S|
LET IT BE SECOND NATURE!
|Here's the Fact:||Here's the Blue Thumb Action:|
|More than 339 billion gallons of water are used in the United States each day. If every household saved just 1 gallon per day, we'd save 94 million gallons a day -- enough to supply the residents of a city the size of Baltimore, Md., for 1 year.||Develop water-wise habits and use only the water you need. Eliminate waste by fixing leaks, saving rainwater for plants, installing low-flow fixtures, and, in general, remembering to slow the flow!|
|More pesticides contaminate water than any other substance, and we use more than 1 billion pounds each year.||Find alternatives to harmful, toxic pest killers for your garden. Geraniums repel Japanese beetles, garlic and mint repel aphids, and marigolds repel whiteflies.|
|We generate almost 2 billion pounds of hazardous waste each year in our homes from household cleansers and chemicals.||Take used household cleansers and chemicals to a hazardous waste collection center. These products can pollute water if not disposed of properly.|
|Americans use nearly 1.3 billion gallons of motor oil, but less than one-half is reprocessed by recyclers. Motor oil, poured down sewer drains or on the ground, can contaminate water.||Take your used motor oil and other automobile fluids to service stations and retail stores that recycle.|
|On average, 50 to 70 percent of household water is used outdoors for watering lawns and gardens.||Find plants, grasses, and groundcovers that are adapted to the local climate and don't need a lot of additional water.|
|Inside your home, you use more water in the bathroom than any other place. For example, the average shower takes up to 30 gallons.||A low-flow shower head can save up to 50 percent of the water you're using to take a shower. Low-flow toilets and faucet aerators can save another 25 gallons a day.|
|Public water utilities test the quality of your drinking water thousands of times a year. For example, Connecticut-American Water Company performs more than 18,800 separate tests on its community water supply each year.||Call your local water supplier and ask what contaminants it tests for and how it measures up to federal health standards. It's important to know the quality of your drinking water.|
|Almost 40 million people rely on private wells for their drinking water. As these wells are on private property and are not regulated for safety, they can become contaminated.||Contact your local health district or Cooperative Extension System representative to find out how to test your private well for safety.|
MINIMIZE YOUR PESTICIDE
Farmers, applicators, and homeowners have serious concerns about pesticide storage. They are warned to keep them locked in a safe storage away from children and pets. No matter how careful we are or how close we calculate the amount we need we still seem to have some left over at the end of the application season. Since most pesticides separate after freezing or begin to break down after being opened, pesticide storages generally contain inferior products. Pesticides that escape from corroded, cracked, damaged, or broken containers are potential contaminants of groundwater.
There are often pesticides you don't use anymore because you changed rotation, sold the livestock, quit gardening, use a better pesticide, or whatever reason. Make an inventory of what you have on hand. These pesticides need to be disposed of properly so the amount of pesticides you have in storage is at a minimum.
What you can do to minimize your storage?
LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS TIED TO
LAND USE PLANNING
(This is the third in a series of articles on protecting groundwater quality by managing local land use.)
When government regulates private property it must observe basic principles relating to constitutionally protected property rights. Not doing so may result in regulations being found legally invalid if challenged in court.
Although specific provisions of zoning ordinances and subdivision regulations
will vary from situation to situation, basic regulatory strategies that might be
employed to protect groundwater quality include:
There must be a reasonable basis for the classification of uses and land subject to regulation. Classifying uses on the basis of their threat to groundwater quality and classifying land on the basis of susceptibility to allow contamination to meet this requirement. It could be argued that local groundwater protection regulations so severely restrict private property that a "taking" has occurred, leaving the landowner with no reasonable use of the property. Injury to the landowner then must be balanced against harm to the public.
Courts traditionally consider impairment of the public health an especially public harm. It is important to relate the stringency of regulations to the potential for public harm in other ways as well. Flexible zoning devices can help achieve this result. Rather than absolutely prohibiting all uses with groundwater contamination potential, it might be preferable to allow certain uses subject to specified conditions. To avoid arbitrary decisions, the ordinance can spell out reasonable standards by listing factors to be considered in reviewing a conditional use.
Courts have recognized that conditional uses are devices that may help avoid a "taking." Absolute prohibition of certain contaminating uses may be warranted, however, if an area is shown to be particularly vulnerable to contamination, such as locations near public wells or areas where pollutants would rapidly infiltrate into the groundwater.
If there is clear articulation of groundwater protection purposes in the
regulations or in a separate plan, and if there is a factual basis to show that
the regulatory provisions are a reasonable means to achieve these goals, then
regulations likely will be found valid. Use of objective evidence should occur
when possible. Examples of such evidence include detailed soil surveys, studies
of subsurface materials and hydrogeologically defined recharge or wellhead
protection areas. An applicant also should have the opportunity to conduct an
on-site investigation and submit technical evidence to show that conditions in
the field differ from information presented in technical reports.
(Adapted from Groundwater and Public Policy, Series No. 6 by D. A. Yaggen and S. M. Born from the University of Wisconsin-Madison)
IWRRI AWARDS FUNDING TO SEVEN WATER
The Idaho Water Resources Research Institute (IWRRI) has selected seven projects submitted by faculty at Idaho universities for funding this coming year. Faculty submitted 12 projects for funding consideration. Most water problems in the state of Idaho may be classified under the two broad categories of water supply and management and water quality. These categories may be further divided into water quality, toxic waste, hydrology, erosion and sedimentation, water supply and demand, hydrologic hazardous contamination, and hydrologic effects of fossil fuel and mineral extraction. Funded proposals address problems in each of these water concern areas. The objectives and expectations of funded projects are summarized below.
"Impact of Nitrogen Fertilizer Use in Bluegrass Seed Production on the Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer" was submitted by J. Hammel and P. McDaniel (Soil Science) of the University of Idaho. The purpose of this research is to conduct a detailed field investigation of nitrogen fertilizer management under bluegrass seed production, and the potential impact on groundwater.
"Use of High Resolution Seismic Reflection Profiling to Characterize Stratigraphy and Faulting in the Boise Aquifer System, Northwest Boise, Idaho" was submitted by W. Barrash and Martin Dougherty of Boise State University. Their research is a seismic field experiment with associated computer processing and interpretation. Data interpretation will incorporate existing information from wells in the area for stratigraphic, facies, and structural interpretation and measurement, and for associated hydrologic interpretation.
J. Welhan, a Research Geologist at Idaho State University, received funding for "Development of an Integrated Model of the Pocatello Aquifer System." This project aims to develop a geophysical model of the effective base of the Pocatello aquifer system, which will be used to develop quantitative flow and transport models of the aquifer that can be used for planning and remediation. This research also supports groundwater reservoir management, the quantification of groundwater supplies, and provides geohydrological data to improve definition of Wellhead Protection Zones.
"Quantitative Detection of Infectious Human Viruses in Idaho Ground and Surface Waters" was submitted by S. T. Kellogg (Bacteriology) of the University of Idaho. He will conduct a study to examine human virus quantification, movement, and survival in Idaho ground and surface water. This study will focus on hydrogeology, virus quantification, and additional groundwater factors that may correlate with virus contamination.
"Factors Affecting Photodegradation of Organic Pollutants in Surface Water and Groundwater," submitted by S. W. Leung of Idaho State University was also funded. This research proposal will investigate a physicochemical method for the degradation of hazardous organic contaminants in surface and groundwater.
"Aquatic Macrophytes of the Columbia River Basin: Species Taxonomy, Distribution, and Ecology" was submitted by C. M. Falter (Fisheries) of the University of Idaho. The goal of this research project is the production of a treatise on the taxonomy, distribution, and habitat characteristics in the Columbia River Basin. This project will compile records of aquatic macrophyte distribution and habitat characteristics into a distributional and ecological database.
"In-Situ Bioreduction of Sulfates to Precipitate Heavy Metal Sulfides in Gypsum" was submitted by K. Prisbrey (Metallurgy) of the University of Idaho. The objective of this research project is to develop a method to stabilize large heaps of heavy metal contaminated sulfates. This technology proposes to inject low cost carbon sources, such as molasses or hydrolyzed potato starch, into the pile allowing for development of a bacterial consortium that will reduce sulfates to sulfides and produce stabilized metal sulfides.
Conservation tillage and residue management programs to protect cropland from erosion and enhance water quality in Idaho rivers are gaining momentum! In 1992 conservation tillage was practiced on 28 percent of Idaho's cropland. This figure is projected to grow to 45 percent by the year 2000. Residue management, a practice that leaves at least 15 percent crop residue on the soil surface, is currently practiced on 55 percent of cropland in Idaho (this figure includes the conservation tillage acreage). By the year 2000 some form of residue management will be practiced on almost 75 percent of our cropland.
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