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.
BBC.COM

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: Water Resolutions

Here are 10 top ways to save water in the New Year.

1. KNOW WHERE YOUR WATER IS WASTED
Scottsbluff pumps 6.6 million gallons a day in the heat of the summer and 2.8 million gallons a day the coldest month. The majority of the difference is for lawn irrigation. Limit outdoor w

ater waste with drought tolerant turf, xeriscaping, rain gardens and other sustainable landscape options.

2. UPGRADE YOUR APPLIANCES & FIXTURES
Choose a WaterSense labeled high-efficiency clothes washers, toilets, and showerheads to save more than 20% from conventional appliances.

3. WATER LESS
Water at dawn while cool and calm, to reduce evaporation. Water in short bursts, instead of a long soak, for better soil infiltration.

4. SHORTEN YOUR SHOWERS
Even a one- or two-minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month, for a family of four. Save up to 200 to 300 gallons per month by using a bucket or to capture what is waste while waiting for the shower or sink water to warm up, and use it on house-plants or in your garden.

5. SWEEP, DON’T HOSE
Save 150 gallons or more by sweeping instead of hosing driveways and sidewalks. Don’t run the hose while washing your car on the lawn. Instead, use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse which saves 150 gallons each time and gives the lawn a water boost.

6. WATER THE GREEN, NOT THE GUTTER
Adjust sprinklers so that water lands on the lawn or garden – and only there. That can save 500 gallons per month. Check for broken or clogged sprinkler heads. Also, ensure that drip system nozzles and emitters are directed toward your plants and not at a sidewalk or driveway.

7. PLANT A NATIVE GARDEN
Native gardens require less maintenance, don’t need chemical fertilizers and attract butterflies and hummingbirds! Panhandle friendly plants can reduce a home’s water consumption by 60 percent.

8. DON’T WASTE THE RAIN
Capture rain runoff in a rain barrel to water the garden or design a swale to slow, spread, and sink rainwater into the soil. That way you’ll need to irrigate less and can conserve more.

9. DON’T WATER WHEN IT RAINS
It seems obvious, but don’t water during downpours or in the hours after a storm. Rain or soil moisture sensors can determine if and how long to water. Both devices can stand-alone or added on to existing controllers. They can reduce outdoor water use by up to 70 percent without sacrificing the quality or health of your landscape.

10. LOCATE THE LEAKS
A minor leak can waste 20 gallons a day and a leaky toilet wastes up to 200 gallons of water per day. Don’t let minor water leaks in your home go unfixed. Check for and repair leaks in all toilets, faucets and showerheads.

Photo: Fuzzbones/Dreamstime

Waterwise Wednesday: Cold Weather, Hot Water

We tend to compensate for cold temperatures with hotter showers and running water longer to make sure the water is definitely warm before sticking our hands under the tap.

Collect the water that runs while waiting for the warmer water for plants, pets, cooking, or drinking. Chances are, you’ll be saving two to eight gallons – plenty to take care of several tasks that don’t require hot water.

Photo: nikkytok