1. Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running water through the tap until it’s the right temperature can waste several gallons of potable water.
2. Leftover ice cubes from your drink? Give them to a houseplant, it provides a nice slow watering.
3. When the kids want to run in the sprinkler, set the sprinkler where the lawn needs it most.
It’s nearly July and the gardens are green and full of early summer blossoms – using just rainwater.
Late last week the City of Scottsbluff finally turned the water on the downtown gardens, about three months after lawn watering began around the city. Native and well adapted plants use much less water than traditional turf once established. They’re also drought hardy, provide needed habitat for pollinators and create a distinct sense of place with a plant palate tailored for the Nebraska Panhandle.
Infiltration practices are designs that enhance water percolation through the soil and remove pollutants in the process. A ‘Rain Garden’ is a common residential design, and an aesthetically appealing project! As snow melts, it’s runoff accumulates in these depressed/trenched areas. Captured water generally leaves to the neighboring soils within 48 hours. Directing water from roof downspouts or paved areas enable the removal of pollutants prior to discharge into receiving waters. For more information visit the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation.
Cross-connections are actual or potential connections between safe drinking water (potable) supply and a source of contamination or pollution. The submerged hoses in the photos illustrate a direct cross connection between non-potable water and your drinking water.
A loss of pressure like a water main break or system repair in the public water system or running too many in-house water sources at once (think shower, washer, dishwasher, and sprinkler system all at the same time) can cause backsiphongage. This loss of pressure creates a siphon effect in the plumbing system which can draw water out of a sink, bucket, or pool and back into your water or public water system.
Cross-connections must be properly protected or eliminated to protect the city’s drinking water supply from backsiphonage or backflow. In this case, either remove the hoses from the pool or barrel or install a hose connection vacuum breaker on the faucet.
Many lawns are over-watered leading to root rot, shallow-rooted plants and the spread of fungal growth on the grass. Horticulturists agree that lawns should get no more than 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall. An empty can placed on your lawn can be used to measure accumulation and moisture sensors attached to automated systems can help prevent over watering.
Drip and emitter systems conserve water by regulating volume, velocity, and direction of water flow. Plants can be targeted with a slow steady specific quantity of water using drip tubes or emitters. This prevents over watering and watering where not needed. And the systems are discreet, designed to function effectively while lying under a layer of mulch.
Wildflowers endure through hard times, lending their beauty and brightness even to landscapes rarely seen by human eyes. Their flowers and seeds feed birds, butterflies and other pollinators and wildlife; their roots loosen and improve soil; they thrive without care in places other plants could never survive; and they lend fragrance and beauty to wild places all across the state, making us want to take a closer look at places we would otherwise ignore.
Updates on events can be found at http://plantnebraska.org/wildflower .
Wildflower Week Events in Western Nebraska
June 8 in Scottsbluff. “It’s a Green Thing,” 4-9pm Parking Lot Party at the Guadalupe Center, 1200 E 9th St. Plant Sale and activity booths 4-9pm include: 4:30-5:30pm planting demonstration and rain garden/pollinator project overview; goldenrod and pollinator presentations at 6 and 7pm. 308-630-8011, email@example.com
June 9 in Gering. “High Plains Prairie Garden Planting Project” 9-10am at Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail. Downtown Plaza Tour 11-noon meeting at 18th St. Plaza. 308-633-1173, firstname.lastname@example.org
June 9 near Crawford. Fort Robinson Wildflower Hike 5-7pm; meet at Crawford Community Building to carpool. 402-580-1293; email@example.com.
June 10 at Chadron State College. Landscape Tour and Pollinator Garden Planting 9-noon. Meet in parking lot along 10th St. frontage near High Rise Dorm. 308-432-6401, firstname.lastname@example.org
June 10 near Gering. “Wildflower Walk” 9-11am at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center, 210615 Hwy 71. Walk will focus on wildflowers and ways to identify them. Bring water and hiking shoes for the 1-mile hike. FREE with 2017 Nebraska State Park Permit. email@example.com, 308-436-3777, http://outdoornebraska.gov/wildcathillsnaturecenter/
June 11 near Harrison. “Wildflowers 101” talk and walk with a ranger through lowlands, prairie and rocky uplands to see a variety of wildflowers starting at 2pm at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument visitor center, 301 River Rd. Trails are open dawn to dusk. firstname.lastname@example.org, 308-668-2211, https://www.nps.gov/agfo/planyourvisit/calendar.htm
Memorial Weekend officially launches summer fun season which often includes water games and activities. The water doesn’t have to go waste. Play water games on the lawn or in the pool so that the aftermath simply waters the lawn fills or trickles back to the pool.
Keep water from evaporating or blowing in the wind by using a sprinkler that produces large drops of water and send droplets out at a low angle. Adjust sprinkler heads as necessary, to avoid waste, runoff and ensure proper coverage.