Waterwise Wednesday: Planning, Policy and Protection

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

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.


Trickle Down Thursday: Storm Drains to River

Did you know: in Grand Island, our storm water runs untreated to the river but our sewer lines run separately to the wastewater treatment plant? This means that any trash, leaves, grass, soil, road salt, and engine fluids on our streets are on a direct path to the rivers and lakes we play in.

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: 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: Water Cooling Tactics

Photo © Zhigong Zhang

Try these simple hacks that use minimal water to help keep cool.

1. Cold compress. Refrigerate damp washcloths or sponges then apply to pulse pulse points like wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles and/or behind your knees where blood vessels are close to the surface.

2. Ice Fan. Place a shallow bowl of ice in front of a fan. The breeze will pick up cold water from the ice’s surface as it melts, creating a cooling mist.

3. Wet Blanket. Dampen a sheet with cool water, wring well (or spin in the washer) and use it as a blanket. The evaporation keeps you cool through the night. Recommend using a dry towel under your body and/or waterproof mattress pad to avoid soaking the mattress.

4. Wet Curtain. Hang a damp sheet in front of an open window, or fan. The evaporation caused by the breeze on the sheet should cool the room.

Waterwise Wednesday: Tree Watering

Photo © Boris Ryaposov

Water newly planted trees. Recent high temperatures coupled with wind and low humidity make new trees more susceptible to stress.

1. Water trees slowly at the base of plants to give them a deep soak. Avoid frequent short waterings, like the lawn, which provide only shallow moisture.

2. Water in the morning to avoid evaporation and help the tree cope the heat of the sun throughout the day.

3. Soaker hoses or tree bags work well for the slow soak tree watering and a 3″ layer of can provide a new tree a buffer from heat, retain water, and avoid root competition with weeds.

Trees are valuable assets to our community. They help shade from heat, shield from cold, manage stormwater, prevent erosion and fight air, water, and noise pollution. So set them up for success with good watering now.

Waterwise Wednesday: National Rivers Month

North Platte River at Scottsbluff July 2019 by L. Sato

We celebrate U.S. rivers and their benefits throughout June.
– Like the Missouri River, the country’s longest at 2,500 miles
– the Mississippi River, the widest, 11 miles across at one point in Minnesota.
– and Nebraska’s 79,056 miles of river

One out of every three people gets their drinking water from a river or stream in the United States. And nationally we spend about $97 billion annually on river-related recreation and tourism.

Drinking water and recreation are two reasons to protect water quality by picking up after your pet, using fertilizers sparingly, and properly disposing of trash.

Waterwise Wednesday: 1.1.1. Challenge

Photo by Ctacik

Challenge: one plate, one bowl and one glass per person per day. It’s a minimalist challenge to promote cleanliness and waste reduction.

The challenge forces immediate cleanup and tidying so dishes will be available for the next meal. Less dishes combined with efficient dishwashing can reduce the amount of water required for kitchen cleanup.

Waterwise Wednesday: 100% Infiltration

Photo: Salp Chain by Kevin Lee

“The thing that truly surprised me the most was that every salp, regardless of year collected, species, life stage, or part of the ocean collected, had plastic in its stomach,” says biological oceanographer Jennifer Brandon.

Salps are small transparent sea creatures that feed constantly on nanophyto- or microzooplankton while swimming in all of the worlds seas and oceans. The microplastics they ingest are as small as 10 micrometers, smaller than the width of a human hair. The 100% ingestion rate is alarming since salp digest their food in two to seven hours.

Brandon warns, mini-microplastics in the salp could make their way into the human body through the seafood we enjoy that eat salp. More than one-third of mini-microplastics found were synthetic fabric fibers from polyester or nylon. Car tires were the second-leading source, which release plastic particles as they erode.