Imagine: a Day Without Water

Imagine a Day Without Water is a national education campaign to highlight just how essential, invaluable, and in need of investment our water infrastructure really is. Just imagine: you couldn’t flush, hospitals couldn’t operate, and farmers couldn’t water their crops. For more: https://imagineadaywithoutwater.org

Waterwise Wednesday: Sprinkler Spruce Up

Simply follow four steps to get your sprinkler system ready for the season and running efficiently.

  1. Inspect and replace clogged, broken or missing sprinkler heads.
  2. Check for leaks where heads and pipes connect, tighten if needed.
  3. Direct sprays on the landscape.
  4. Select the proper watering schedule or employ a weather-based irrigation controller.

Photo: Donkeyru

Waterwise Wednesday: Stop Food Waste Day

Cold food – salami and fresh vegetables served on plate

“Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States,” according to the National Resource Defense Council (2012).  

Annually, 133 billion pounds, about 219 pounds per person, of food is wasted, that equals 30–40 % of the food supply produced in the United States.  Food waste creates the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills and a large source of US methane emissions.   

 Stop Food Waste by:

  1. Shopping smart
    • buy only what you need or what you know you’ll use before  food goes bad
    • ask for smaller portions or take left-overs home to eat when eating out
    • Use serving size information on the Nutrition Facts label to help portion meals or snacks.
  2. Store smart – Food spoilage accounts for over 60% of food waste.
    • Check the fridge often to keep track of what you have and what needs to be used.
    • Keep the refrigerator temperature at 40° F  or below and the freezer at 0° F to keep foods safe.
    • Use your freezer! Most foods will keep in the freezer until ready to eat.
    • Follow the 2-Hour Rule. For safety reasons, don’t leave perishables out at room temperature for more than two hours, unless you’re keeping it hot or cold. If the temperature is above 90° F, food shouldn’t be left out for more than one hour. Also, remember to refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
  3. Eat Smart!
    • Eat the whole food – don’t miss out on the nutrients in the skins of fruits and vegetables
    • Learn about food product dating –  know the difference between “sell by”, “best by” and “use by” labels.

Photo © Miroslav Beneda

Waterwise Wednesday: Groundwater Recharge

Photo © Dreamstock

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: Fall Water Tips

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

1. Change the Timer. Cooler weather means lawns require less water.

2. Do a thorough sprinkler system check and make necessary repairs. A line puncture 1/32nd of an inch in diameter wastes up to 6,300 gallons of water per month, which is higher than both Scottsbluff and Gering’s monthly minimum water use rate. (Rates increase for water use above 5,000 gallons per month in both cities.)

3. Plan(t) Ahead. Fall is a great time to introduce native perennials and grasses to your landscaping. They establish root systems during the fall and, once mature, will use less water and chemicals than traditional landscape plants.

Waterwise Wednesday: Black Water

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Cities flush fire hydrants to make sure the hydrants work properly and rid the system mains of corrosion, rust, and sediment.

If faucet water is dark or discolored after a City hydrant flush simply run the tap until the water is clear again. The black sediment is naturally occurring maganese that has reacted with sodium hypochlorite that is used to protect water from contamination as it travels through the pipe system.

Waterwise Wednesday: Party Primping

Getting ready for a holiday party? Use these tips to save water while you prepare now and throughout the year.

1. Collect the cold water while you wait to shower to warm up. Use to water pets or plants.

2. Shower in 5 minutes or less – this can save up to 1000 gallons per month if you’re used to taking longer showers.

3. Shorten the shower and water waste by turning off the shower while you brush your teeth, shampoo, and/or shave.

4. Rinse wisely: If you don’t shave or brush your teeth in the shower, rinse razors or toothbrushes in the sink with a little water or in a small glass of water. Rinsing a razor under running water can waste up to 300 gallons a month.

Photo © Pavel Losevsky

Water Quality Wednesday: Drops to Watts

Ever considered the electrical cost of water?

“Homes with electric water heaters, for example, spend one-fourth of their total electric bills just to heat water,” according to EPA. It takes energy to pump, treat, deliver and heat the water we use. Running a faucet for five minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours.

Pay yourself, literally, by using Water Sense and Energy Star qualified devices like water heaters, dishwashers, sprinkler systems, shower heads, toilets and faucets. They’re designed to save both water and electricity.