Waterwise Wednesday: Water Harvesting

Capture and reuse rain runoff to supplement regular watering and reduce demand on the public water system with these ideas.

1. Gently mound dirt along a plant’s dripline to hold and infiltrate runoff.

2. Re-use household wastewater from dehumidifiers or air conditioning condensers for irrigation.

3. Install a rain barrel or cistern. Rain barrels can store the water until the weather turns dry and is needed.

4. Plant a rain garden – the basin will hold runoff while providing the yard with color and pollinator habitat.

Photo via gilintx via Flickr CC

Waterwise Wednesday: Persistent Perchlorate


Photo © Laura Arredondo

Enjoy the Fourth of July fireworks. And please take time to carefully sweep firework launch and debris landing areas and properly dispose of the debris afterwards.

Perchlorate, a compound used as an oxidizing agent in fireworks (i.e., fuel to make the firework burn), persists in soil and water.

How persistent? Well, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial’s firework shows stopped in 2009. In a 2016 US Geological Survey high levels of perchlorate were still reported in the park – 38 micrograms in a groundwater sample and 54 micrograms/liter in a stream, both in excess of the EPA’s 15 micrograms per liter, and 274 times higher than samples taken outside the memorial park’s borders.

Waterwise Wednesday: Timing is Everything

Photo@Publicdomainphotos

Summer has officially arrived. And water use triples in Scottsbluff primarily due to lawn and landscape watering. Timing your watering can save you money and the city water supply.

1. Know how much water your landscape actually needs before you set your sprinkler. Automatic sprinkler systems can waste up to 50% more water than manual when timers are set and left instead of adjusted for current moisture and temperature.

2. Water in the early morning or after the sun goes down in the evening when its cooler and calmer. Its estimated that 50 percent of sprinkler water goes to waste from evaporation, wind, or runoff.

3. Install a smart controller that uses weather data to determine when and how much to water.

Photo © Publicdomainphotos

Waterwise Wednesday: Water Safety Tips

Swimmers are bobbing at the pools and lakes. Remember a few tips to stay safe and enjoy the water all summer.

– Always swim with a buddy. Don’t assume that lifeguards can see everything, they’re watching several people at once. Children should always be under active supervision.

– Explore cautiously and make sure you’re comfortable with the body of water you’re swimming in. Rivers and lakes can have undertows. Never dive into an unfamiliar area.

– Remember, more strength is needed to swim in a current. 
If you get caught in a current, don’t panic or try to fight it. Float with it, or swim parallel to the shore.

Photo © Gbphotostock

Walter Walleye Meets Hiram the Pioneer

Hiram from the Western Nebraska Pioneers Baseball and Nebraska H2O’s Walter Walleye

Lied Scottsbluff Public Library hosted a SUN-SATIONAL STAR-STUDDED MORNING on Tuesday, June 11th for A Universe of Stories-Children’s Summer Reading Program. Participants enjoyed a skit by Western Nebraska Community College Theater and variety of activity booths.

Nebraska H2O’s Walter Walleye and Western Nebraska Pioneer Baseball ‘s Hiram mingled with the kids and families.

Butterflies and Bees Thank the TAC!

Thank you to Lied Scottsbluff Public Library’s Teen Advisory Council (TAC) for planting a Bloom Box in celebration of Nebraska Wildflower Week last Friday.

The Bloom Box contained 24 hand-picked native and pollinator friendly plants from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and the TAC planted them according to the design template included with the box. A mini Greener Nebraska Towns grant provided additional plants for the plaza.

Thank you, TAC!

Teen Advisory Council Members from the Lied Scottsbluff Public Library work with Rachel Anderson of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum to plant a Bloom Box in the Broadway Plaza.

Waterwise Wednesday: International Day for Biological Diversity

This day is dedicated to making sure all creatures not only survive, but also thrive.

In simple terms, Biodiversity refers to all the variety of life on Earth (plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms), the communities they form, and the habitats in which they live.

Biodiversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms. Ecosystems with more varieties of life have greater productivity, are more resilient, and recover faster from disaster. Our food, medicine, climate stability, gene pool, and even culture (e.g., our ag/ranch based lifestyle) are all linked to biodiversity.

Photo © Stephen Adamson

Waterwise Wednesday: The Ultimate Water Filter

Earth’s water cycle constantly refreshes our water supply as it travels through (the basic) phases of precipitation, evaporation, and condensation. We depend on the water cycle to bring us fresh, clean water.

Our water can only be as clean as it’s filters. Damage of soil, air, or ground surfaces also damages the filtration or renewal of water.

Greenhouse gases affects the amount, distribution, timing, and quality of available water which affects our activities like recreation (fishing, hunting, water recreation), farming, manufacturing.

Contaminants left on the surface or in the soil contaminate groundwater as it soaks through the soil, requiring additional filtration for humans to drink.

Every person can help prevent pollution, which helps keep the water cycle flowing smoothly and our water clean.

Image: NASA

Waterwise Wednesday: Truly Green Lawn Remedies

Problem: Lawnmowers create 5% of US air pollution (EPA)

Remedy: Buffalo Grass tops out between 4-5 inches and has a growing shorter season; thus requiring less mowing.

Problem: Lawn owners use 10 times the amount of pesticides and fertilizers per acre than farmers use on their crops (National Academy of Sciences).

Remedy: Native grasses are used to drier conditions. Even traditional grasses can be trained to use less water.

Problem: Traditional grasses use more water

Remedy: Native grass species require less chemical input since they’re already adapted to succeed in our soils and climate.

Problem: Native grasses aren’t as pretty, soft, green, etc.

Remedy: Check the different types. Tatanka buffalo grass is actually used on golf courses. (Which is an activity you’ll have more time for by raising a sustainable lawn.)

Waterwise Wednesday: Pet Blizzard Protection

Most animal deaths in winter storms are caused by dehydration. Take precautions to insure the safety of your animals and pets.

Pawprint in snow
Photo © Dmitry Maslov

– Move animals to sheltered areas with a supply of non-frozen water

– Ensure their shelters can withstand wind, heavy snow and ice

– Provide access to high ground unimpeded by fencing or other barriers for when the snow and ice melt and flooding potential increases