Waterwise Wednesday: Groundwater Recharge

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Groundwater naturally recharges as rainfall or other surface water infiltrates into the ground. Precipitation falls on the land, soaks through the soil and moves to the water table. Natural recharge can also occur when water seeps from rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands to the water table. Much of Gering’s groundwater recharge occurs this way from the North Platte River and canal systems.

However, low precipitation this winter means groundwater levels haven’t recharged to typical levels. This makes water conservation more important.

Plan now to conserve water with:
– native plant landscapes
– efficient watering systems set with water saving practices like a drip system set for early morning or late evening watering and moisture sensor to avoid over watering.
– water harvesting practices like rain barrels or directing downspouts to lawn and garden areas
– utilizing indoor water saving techniques like shorter showers, full laundry and dishwasher loads and low-flow faucet taps and shower heads.

Waterwise Wednesday: Goin’ to the Dogs (and Cats)

Photo © Sunheyy

February holds several dog and cat designations: Dog Education Month, National Cat Health Month, Pet Dental Health Month and Responsible Pet Owners Month.

Part of good pet care is properly disposing of their waste. Pet waste is a leading source of both nutrient and bacteria pollution to urban streams and waterways. Feces carry concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus and pathogens like Salmonella, E. Coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium.

Pet waste pathogens threaten the safety garden grown food and drinking water supplies and can lead to severe intestinal diseases in humans when ingested.

Avoid expose family and friends by picking up and properly disposing pet waste. Pet waste be collected then either flushed or sacked and placed in the trash.

Waterwise Wednesday: No Salt, Please

big salt in the plate isolated over white

Just one teaspoon of salt in five gallons of water creates a concentration toxic to some aquatic life and increases the corrosivness of water.

Road salts and most deicers contain chloride. When the snow and ice melt, the salty runoff flows down the storm drains to the North Platte River. Chloride is virtually impossible to remove from a waterbody.

Avoid chloride pollution with these tips:
– Shovel early and often to prevent snow compaction and ice formation.

– Scrape ice with an ice scraper or ice chisel.

– Salt or de-ice as a last resort. Salt or de-ice ONLY if pavement temperature is warm enough for application to be effective. Otherwise, lightly sprinkle sand for traction.

– Sweep residue after the melt to prevent residual salt, de-icer, or sand from washing into storm drains.

Photo © Ivan Kopylov

Waterwise Wednesday: Cold Weather Water Protection

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

This week’s sustained freezing temperatures could wreck havoc on water pipes. Protect your pipes by:

– Opening cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.
– Letting water drip slowly from inside faucets.
– Keep the doors shut on an attached garage if plumbing is routed through the space.
– Protect pipes that have frozen in the past

If the pipes freeze:
– Shut off the water immediately.
– Thaw slowly by applying heat with a hair dryer, space heater, or hot water.
– After thawing slowly turn water on to check for cracks and leaks.

Waterwise Wednesday: Planning, Policy and Protection

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Scottsbluff, Gering and Terrytown work to preserve water quality, implement good stormwater management and flood prevention. Some of the cities’ tasks include:

– Working with agencies to identify and map floodplains, wetlands and riparian areas.

– Determining areas for development, avoidance, and other sensitive areas.

– Integrating natural drainage features or low impact features into planning to minimize disturbance.

– Collaborating with agencies for proper management and preservation of riparian zones, community forestry, and land management techniques.


Waterwise Wednesday: Avoid Holiday FOG Clog

Prevent FOG (Fats, Oils and Grease) Clog this holiday season and throughout the year to reduce overflows, backups and clogs:

Never pour FOG down kitchen sinks, garbage disposals or into toilets!

Instead:
– Let FOGs cool after cooking, then put them into a disposable plastic bag, securely seal or tie, then put into the trash.

– Wipe pots, pans and plates with paper towels to capture any leftover grease before washing.

– Use a drain strainer to keep grease and food scraps out of the kitchen sink drain.

Photo © Rawpixel Images

Waterwise Wednesday: Winter Tree Watering

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Trees – a vital part of our green infrastructure – may be dormant now, but they are still susceptible to cold and dry conditions. Lack of water through the winter season can damage root systems. The weakened trees may look normal in the spring, but will usually die back later in the summer.


Protect your trees with these winter watering tips:

– Water only when the temperature is above 40 degrees with no snow or ice on the ground.

-Water early in the day, so the water can soak in before the temperature drops at night.

– Use a soaker hose to focus water on the roots and avoid spraying branches or evergreen foilage.

– Water trees one or two times per month until they begin leafing out in the spring.

Waterwise Wednesday: Protect Your Pipes

Prevent a pipe from freezing and bursting to save your pipes, water, and property.

Photo © Ruslan Khabirov
Chrome faucet with water drop

– Keep the indoor temperature in your home 55 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer

– Drip faucets overnight when the temperature is expected to be well below freezing. It may seem like a waste, but the moving water will prevent the pipe from freezing.


– Collect the water in a bucket to flush your toilets or water your plants.

– Securely cover exposed outdoor pipes and hose bibs with pipe insulation to prevent freeze and burst.

– Check for leaks after any thaws. Temperature changes can cause pipes to expand and contract, leading to more leaks.

– Know exactly where the main water shut-off valve is located. Turning off the water quickly after discovering a leak saves hundreds of gallons of water.

Waterwise Wednesday: Fall Water Check

City of Scottsbluff, Nebraska- Government>Publishing Tools

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Use this week’s warmer weather for a Fall water check.

1. Find and fix leaks in sprinkler systems, broken heads and exterior walls (look for water damage to outer walls). Tiny openings may have allowed below freezing temperatures to freeze a pipe last week.

2. Insulate water pipes in unheated areas by wrapping with heat-tape and insulation tubes. This will allow hot water to reach your taps faster and save energy on water heating.

3. Locate your property shut-off valve. The faster you can turn off the water during a major leak, the less property damage and less water wasted.

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Waterwise Wednesday: Gutter check

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Continued melting means flowing snow melt and runoff. Check street gutters and storm drains near your home to make sure they’re clear of debris and functioning properly.

Clogged storm drains can cause neighborhood flooding, icy back up and nutrient overload as debris decays in the drains.Removing leaves, one of the largest urban sources of phosphorus pollution, from street gutters and drains can reduce the amount of phosphorus in urban runoff by 80% (USGS 2016).