Waterwise Wednesday: Drops to Watts

Graphic: EPA.gov/Watersense

Saving water saves energy. Simply running a faucet for five minutes uses about as much energy as a 60-watt incandescent light bulb staying on for 14 hours, according to the EPA.

How can you save both water and energy?

1. Use less water or use it efficiently – shorter showers, full loads of dishes, turn the tap off while brushing teeth or washing dishes, use a hot water kettle or microwave to heat only the water you need.

2. Find and fix leaks in toilets, sinks, sprinkler systems and appliances.

3. Use cold water instead of hot when possible – laundry, washing fruits and vegetables (use the rinsewater for house plants), rinsing cleaning products

4. Install low-flow fixtures and faucet aerators in showers and sinks.

5. Replace worn out and older inefficient appliances with Water Sense and Energy Star labeled products tested and designed to use water and energy more efficiently – toilets, washing machines, and water heaters are big ones.

Waterwise Wednesday: The Falling Leaves

Photo © Mishkaki

As falling leaves drift to the ground, please clear them from storm drain grates and put them to better use. Leaves can easily clog storm drains creating preventable flooding and nutrient overload pollution.

There’s several good uses for those fallen leaves:

1. Shred and spread on the lawn for a nutrient boosting mulch.

2. Convert them to compost either in your own pile or put them in a city yardwaste bin and we’ll compost them at the Yardwaste Facility.

3. Use the leaves as mulch in your garden beds to protect the soil and hold moisture. Next spring till them into the soil for extra nutrients.

Waterwise Wednesday: Handwash vs. Dishwasher

Photo © Ctacik Hands in gloves washing dishes at the kitchen

Dishwashers use half the energy, one-sixth of the water and less soap than hand-washing according to research at the University of Bonn, Germany. Dishwashers beat the hand washers in both efficient water use and cleanliness level.

Need a dishwasher? Consider these tips to get the most efficient and effective:

1. Choose an ENERGY STAR dishwasher

2. Scrape food into the compost. Don’t iwaste water rinsing.

3. Choose an eco-friendly dishwasher detergent.

4. Run full loads, on the “light” cycle and turn off the “heated drying” option.

5. Repair a dishwasher before replacing it.


Waterwise Wednesday: Fall Fertilizing

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Fall, right after the first freeze, is the best time to fertilize the lawn and combat weeds as the plants take the fertilizer and herbicide deep into their systems as they shut down for the season.

Remember to apply chemicals “Sparingly and Caringly” – using only the amount needed according to instructions – to promote plant health and prevent waste. Sweep any extra back onto the lawn after application to prevent loss in runoff as fertilizer and pesticides are the top non-point source pollutant in US surface waters.

Waterwise Wednesday: A Slight Delay

Autumn officially started on Monday, but turning of the leaves will be delayed until mid-October according to the Weather Channel.

Cooler temperatures coupled with less daylight prompts leaves to change color; however, warmer evening temperatures haven’t slowed chlorophyll production yet.

As a bonus, the extra moist summer should encourage brighter more vibrant colors once the leaves do change.

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

LEAVE IT ON THE LAWN

The City of Kearney has multiple street sweepers that run regular routes. These street sweepers are NOT designed to pick up only leaves. To get to their regular routes the street sweepers will be avoiding areas where it is obvious that the property owners have purposely moved leaves off their lawn onto the street.

Composting Ideas

Compost is ready to use when it is dark, brown and crumbly with an earthy odor. It should not be moldy and rotten. Compost should be somewhat fluffy and does not have to be powdery. The original materials should not be recognizable in the compost. Incompletely decomposed materials used in gardens will compete for nitrogen with the soil.