You may not feel as if you have a lot of power when it comes to keeping water clean, safe and available worldwide, but the fact is each and every one of us has a great deal of influence on the quality and availability of water. In this article, we will share 9 smart, easy tips you can use every day to help keep water clean and available to all. Read on to learn more.
1. Do your outdoor surfaces help or hurt water quality?
If your paths, driveway, patio and other aspects of your outdoor landscape are made of cement or asphalt, they add to poor water quality. The reason for this is that storm water flows across these hard surfaces carrying dirt and debris into storm drains and waterways. By simply choosing to use porous materials, such as wood, pavers or gravel, you can help prevent contamination from entering the natural water system. If changing out these surfaces is not possible, try digging a trench alongside cement driveways, paths and patios. Fill it with gravel to create a French drain that helps filter debris out of runoff before it enters storm drains and the waterways.
2. Take care when you flush
For the health of your home’s plumbing and the health of the waterways, do not flush non-biodegradable items (e.g. baby wipes, personal wipes, feminine hygiene products, etc.) down the toilet. Whenever you throw this sort of trash into water anywhere, you can be very certain it will eventually end up in the ocean or on a beach. This is not just unsightly. Non-biodegradable contamination in the ocean negatively impacts water quality and wildlife.
3. Dispose of medications and chemicals properly
When you have medications that are out of date or need to dispose of them for some other reason, don’t wash them down the drain or flush them down the toilet. The same goes for left over bits of lawn care products, household chemicals, paint, oil, pesticides and the like. Pouring these into the water system amounts to poisoning the water. Dispose of unwanted medications by delivering them to your local pharmacy. Dispose of unwanted chemicals by taking them to your local recycling center. If you do not have a recycling center in your town, check with your local public works, environmental health or sanitation department for instructions on disposing of these substances safely.
4. Clean up pet waste responsibly
Dog and cat droppings are full of bacteria that will end up in the storm drains and the water supply if you do not dispose of them properly. Be sure to pick up after your dog when visiting the dog park, walking and around your own yard. Use a recycled plastic pet waste bag to pick up and dispose of the droppings by placing them in the trash. When you clean your cat’s litter box, place the droppings in a recycled plastic bag in the trash. Don’t compost pet droppings as they contain dangerous bacteria.
5. Go to the car wash
Your local car wash has a drain system set up that carries the water runoff directly into the sewer system and on to a treatment plant. Some car washes have systems in place that save water by recycling and reusing it. When you wash your car at home, the runoff just goes into the storm drain and has the potential to spread toxins such as motor oil, antifreeze and petroleum products throughout the water system.
6. Take good care of your car
Reduce drips and leaks by maintaining your car properly. Have your oil changed regularly and professionally. Have your car inspected seasonally to catch leaky hoses and connections early on.
7. Support organizations that advocate for clean water
Organizations such as the Water Keeper Alliance (https://waterkeeper.org/) and the Clean Water Network (clean-water-network.org/) can provide you with good information about keeping water clean. They can also advocate for you and with you to bring about positive environmental improvements in your area.
8. Report water pollution
If you notice activities in your area that potentially or actually pollute water, take steps to remedy the situation. You may be able to work with individuals to help find a solution. If this isn’t possible, talk with your local environmental protection organizations or with such entities as the Waterkeeper Alliance or the Clean Water Network.
9. Don’t buy bottled water
When you boycott bottled water, you’ll save yourself a fortune and (by filtering your own, fresh tap water) enjoy a better quality of drinking water. You will also greatly reduce the amount of plastic waste you generate when you invest in a reusable water bottle or canteen. Boycotting bottled water provides support for your local, public utility. This proactive choice confirms that you believe that safe, clean drinking water is a human right, not a privilege.
Water Is Life
All life on earth is dependent on water, which is a finite resource. Access to safe, clean drinking water is a remarkable engineering feat, which is one of the cornerstones of civilization. The ability to turn on a tap and access fresh, clean water is the result of centuries worth of work by technicians, hydrologists and scientists. Making smart choices that protect clean water in the environment and support your local public water works helps insure that access to clean drinking water remains a basic right for humans and all living things.
Every choice we make affects the environment. When you clean your home, walk your dog, wash your car and perform a wide variety of daily tasks, you have an effect on the quality and availability of water. The good news is that you can change your impact from negative to positive with the 9 minor adjustments shared here.