Waterwise Wednesday: Kid Games

Need to keep the kids occupied while they’re home for break?

Try some of these water conservation games rounded up by Water, Use it Wisely.

Games

 

Waterwise Wednesday: Winter Prep

Winter officially begins this Friday. Make sure your house is ready to prevent freezing and flooding.

1. Know where your property shut-off valve is. The faster you can turn off the water when a pipe breaks, the less water wasted, water damage, and repair costs.

2. Insulate water pipes in unheated areas. Wrap water supply lines in unheated areas with insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass. The most susceptible pipes freezes are those exposed to frigid temperatures such as outdoor hose bibs and water supply lines in unheated interior areas like basements, crawlspaces, and even kitchen cabinets.

3. Drip your faucets. Contrary to popular belief, dripping faucets during freezing temperatures can actually save you money on water by acting as inexpensive insurance. Pulling water through the entire system by turning on faucets keeps the water moving, reducing the likelihood of freezing.

4. Check for leaks after the first thaw. Winter’s temperature changes between night and day cause pipes to expand and contract. When the spring thaw occurs, weakened pipes are likely to break.

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

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Waterwise Wednesday: Thanks! For Saving Water on Thanksgiving

Here’s some ways to save water as you celebrate the holiday . . .

1. The Big Thaw. Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator instead of cold water. Remember, to put it in pan to catch leaking juices.

2. Bathe instead of shower. Wash vegetables in a large bowl of water, instead of under running water. Then use the water to soak the roasting pan or dirty utensils before washing them.

3. Steam instead of boil – not only will you use less water, you’ll also preserve more nutrients and vitamins.

4. Track the glass. Use wine glass charms, ribbon, or different color yarn to keep track of your glass throughout the day instead of reaching for clean one each refill. K

5. Easy reach. Keep one pitcher of cold water on the table for water glass refills. Keep a second to collect the half-full glasses at day’s end for plant or pet water.

6. Scrape dishes into the compost or trash rather than rinsing food scraps down the garbage disposal, which clogs pipes with oil and grease.

7. Thank goodness for dishwashers – ENERGY STAR – rated dishwashers can use as little as three gallons per load. If you have to wash dishes by hand, fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.

 

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Free photo 82950340 © creativecommonsstockphotos – Dreamstime.com

Waterwise Wednesday: Wake up! Our Water Makes Great Coffee

The Panhandle’s hard water makes great coffee. Our hard water contains “sticky” minerals like calcium and magnesium, while the coffee beans contain compounds like citric acid, lactic acid, and eugenol (a compound that adds a “woodsy” taste) that give coffee its distinct flavor and aroma. The minerals stick, or attract, the compounds while brewing providing more flavor to the coffee.

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Waterwise Wednesday: Enjoying the Fruits of the Harvest

Its harvest time for all those rain-barrel-watered garden veggies.

Save water during cooking by rinsing the produce in a large bowl of water and gently scrubbing with a veggie brush. Steam the veggies instead of boiling – it preserves nutrients in addition to water. If you choose to boil, use the minimum amount of water and save it to water plants later.

And to preserve fruits and veggies, eat them in order, starting with the things that will go bad the soonest:

First: bananas, berries, cherries, kiwis, avocado, spinach, lettuce, and grapes

Second: tomatoes, mango, peaches, pears, melon, apricots, and zucchini

Third: cucumbers, pineapple, and pomegranates

Last: carrots, potatoes, celery, apples, grapefruit, and oranges

Photo © Liz Van Steenburgh

 

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Waterwise Wednesday: The Dirty on Clean Laundry

The average US family of four generates 300 loads of laundry a year and uses 6,000-12,000 gallons of water to get them clean. Depending on the efficiency of the washer, each load uses 15 gallons (high-efficiency front load) to 40 gallons (traditional top load with vertical agitator) of water.

Save water by washing only full loads and save energy by using cold water and hanging your clothes out to dry instead of running them through the dryer.

Photo © Faidoi

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Waterwise Wednesday: Managing Stormwater Runoff

While it’s unusual to get the amount of rain we had two weeks ago, it does remind us to take some flood precautions.

1. Basement windows or doors are common storm water entry points and should be sealed against leaks. Clear plastic covers or window wells that extend above ground level can help. Ideally, window and door sills should at least a foot above ground level.

2. Slope the yard away from the foundation to prevent water from pooling near the house and leaking into the basement. Create a rain garden or low basin landscaped with shrubs and flowers to encourage water to soak into the ground.

3. Eliminate paved surfaces where possible and consider alternatives that allow water to soak into the ground. Consider porous concrete or porous pavers for driveways. Gravel or woodchips for walking paths.

4. Aim downspouts toward the lawn and away from the foundation and paved surfaces. Consider using cisterns or rain barrels to catch rainwater for watering lawns and gardens in dry weather.

Photo: Creative Commons

Waterwise Wednesday: Garden Hose Tips

Use an adjustable shut-off nozzle which can be down to fine spray so that water flows only as needed. Turn it of at the faucet instead of the nozzle when finished to avoid leaks.

Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks.

Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. 600 gallons or more can flow in only a few hours. Set a shut-off reminder to turn it off.

 

Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly.

Install ornamental water features, like fountains, only if the water is recycled. 

 

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Photo: © Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

Waterwise Wednesday: Spring Sprinkler Tips

Consider these tips from conserveh20.org as you prep the sprinkler system for the season for effective and efficient watering.

 

1. Look for signs of leakage, especially damage to sprinkler heads or piping which could have occurred over the winter. Repair and replace as needed.

 

2. Look for accurate spray patterns. Adjust your sprinkler heads so they water your landscape and not sidewalks or pavement. Also make sure their spray isn’t blocked by plants or other materials.

3. Clean clogged nozzles and sprinkler heads.

4. Install a rain sensor. Rain sensors are designed to shut off sprinkler systems when rainfall reaches a preset amount, usually 1/4 inch. Once the moisture level subsides, the sensor re-enables the sprinkler system, resuming the previous watering schedule. Rain sensors should be mounted in an unobstructed area exposed to open sky – minimizing the potential for fallen leaves or other debris from blocking the sensor.