Waterwise Wednesday: What’s Your Meal’s Water Footprint?

To grow, process and transport food requires a lot of water. Consequently, eating lower on the food chain, consuming whole foods and wasting less food, also saves water.

To learn more about the water required to produce our food check out the water calculator:

Waterwise Wednesday: The Capetown Warning for Metro Areas

Capetown’s crisis is in the spotlight now, but other metropolitan areas could soon follow:

Cape Town’s taps are due to be turned off because of severe drought. It is not alone in having water woes.

Waterwise Wednesday: Love Your Drains

Pipes work hard to keep a household running smoothly. Show drains some love this Valentine’s Day by following these simple tips to prevent clogs in your home’s drains.

1. Catch the hair! Cover drains with screens or filters to prevent hair from flowing into the drain while cleaning or bathing.

2. Dispose of fats and oils properly. Bag fats and oils and throw them in the trash instead of allowing them to run down the drains.

3. Avoid planting trees close to your main line or sewer line. Tree roots seek and penetrate drain pipes for water.

4. Flush drains with vinegar and baking soda to help clear grease and dissolve organic material. Sprinkle baking soda into the pipes followed by vinegar. Let the mixture sit for several hours then flush with hot water.

Waterwise Wednesday: The Safer Choice

Safer Choice labels identify products with safer chemical ingredients, without sacrificing quality or performance. The EPA’s voluntary Safer Choice program reviews product ingredients, product performance, pH, packaging, and VOC content.

Every ingredient must meet strict safety criteria for both human health and the environment, including carcinogenicity, reproductive/developmental toxicity, toxicity to aquatic life, and persistence in the environment.

Products pass category-specific performance standards as defined in the Safer Choice Standard. All products must perform comparably to conventional products.

One of six sustainable packaging measures must be implemented for the product.

pH: Labeled products must meet pH standards that minimize the potential for skin and eye irritation or injury.

Safer Choice restricts VOC content to minimize indoor air pollution and associated respiratory concerns.

For more information: https://www.epa.gov/saferchoice

Waterwise Wednesday: Snow Science

Cloudy winter days make the snow melt faster, says a study from the University of Utah. Snow is designed to stay cold in three ways: by deflecting the sun’s heat with it’s bright white color and crystalline structure, the bright white reflecting heat back at night, and sublimation, evaporating from snow to vapor, similar to the way sweat evaporates from our skin to keep us cool.

Cloudy humid days, however prevents snow from deflecting, reflecting and sublimating warming the snow. That is why a few humid days with temperatures hovering around the freezing point create large melt events and even minor flooding.

Do your own experiment by watching snow that remains in shadows even on warm sunny days. Then watch what happens to that same snow during gray days and nights — quickly, though, before it’s all gone.

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Waterwise Wednesday: The Final Countdown

“I cannot stress it enough: all residents must save water and use less than 87 litres (23 gallons) per day.” – Patricia de Lille, Mayor, Capetown, South Africa

Three consecutive years of drought have brought Capetown, South Africa to the end of it’s water supply. All taps serving the city’s 3.74 million residents will be shut off April 21 – “Day Zero” – when the water is gone. Should the taps be turned off, each resident will be allocated 6.5 gallons of drinking water per day shipped from neighboring provinces.

The average U.S. resident uses 100 gallons per day – 4 times the current recommended use for Capetonians. How much more could we conserve?

Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images, FILE

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Waterwise Wednesday: Leaky Toilet

The bathroom toilet accounts for 25%-30% of daily water use in the U.S. home. A leaky toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water a day.

Check for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank, don’t flush. 
If the color reaches the bowl in 10-15 minutes there’s a leak. It’s likely the toilet flapper is worn and no longer seals.

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Waterwise Wednesday: Winter Watering

Trees and plants may be parched and in need of water due to Winter being very dry, windy and warm here in the Panhandle.

– Water trees, shrubs, lawns, and perennials during prolonged dry fall and winter periods to prevent root damage that affects the health of the entire plant.

– Water only when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees F with no snow cover. Apply water at mid-day so it will have time to soak in before possible freezing at night.

– To water trees, apply water to the most critical part of the root zone under the tree canopy and let the soil soak to a depth of 12 inches.