You probably know all about conserving water at your home, but you may not be aware of how to reduce water pollution as a family—especially the water you drink.
Water conservation means you’re using less of it, which helps save energy and, of course, reduces overall water usage. Considering water supply protection is different than just saving it, though. To begin, it helps families to both think more about where their tap water comes from and examine how they might be polluting drinking water without even knowing it.
Examine Your Water Supply
First, you should determine where your tap water comes from. Most municipalities pump their drinking water from aquifers (bodies of water underground). In the Cleveland suburbs, our water comes from Lake Erie, and I know other communities draw their water from large rivers.
You can likely learn more about how your community gathers and stores water from its website. Many homeowners also have private wells on their property if they’re farther away from a major town. You know that all water is connected by watersheds, so anything you do on the land affects the water downstream: the river, lake, wetland, pond, or other body of water at the bottom of your watershed. Just knowing this basic fact can help you remember to do your best to keep your local sources clean.
Consider Garden Hose Backflow
The hose in your backyard may be causing pollution to your water supply. If you tend to leave the end of your hose in a puddle of mud or in the kiddie pool, some of this contaminated water could potentially flow back into the water supply. This happens more often if the hose is installed under-grade to the rest of the house.
An easy fix is to install an inexpensive backflow preventer vacuum breaker on the spigot of your outdoor faucet. This little device will prevent water from going back into the pipes.
Mind the Dog Waste
Most dogs poop outside in the yard, and no one cleans it up. But think of all your neighbors’ dogs, and your friends and their dogs. All that poop can creep into waterways and aquifers when it rains. It might sound a little crazy, but all that dog doo really adds up!
It pretty much goes without saying that any sort of excrement mixing with water is a pretty bad thing. When taking your dog out, make sure to pick up the droppings with a baggie and toss it in the landfill trash or even use a doggy septic tank.
When taking care of your summer veggie garden, be sure to do it at the right time and to not over-fertilize. Even if you’re using manure from local cows or otherwise green fertilizer with the best intentions, it can be a pollutant. You don’t want to fertilize before a rain event, and keep the fertilizer all in the soil—not on the sidewalk or somewhere that it will get into a storm drain after it rains.
Will you add a backflow preventer to your water hose this summer with the purpose of water supply protection? Let us know on Twitter!
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.
Why It’s Good
Be sure your kids know where your water comes from. Just as food doesn't start at the grocery store, water doesn't start at the tap. The more they know about where their water comes from and how to protect it, the safer the entire family (and planet!) will be. Plus, learning about water supply protection can turn into a fun science experiment.