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Friday, June 26, 2009

How to protect your family’s dwindling clean and available water supply from Terra Wellington

Because of increasing water pollution, drought conditions, and unpredictability of water availability, your family’s clean and available water is to become progressively more scarce and expensive and threatens to be one of the prevailing health and environmental issues of the next 20 years.

According to a recent Gallup poll, water pollution is the number one environmental concern of Americans. And as of mid-June, more than a third of the U.S. was experiencing drought conditions, with the Southeastern U.S. just emerging from a long-standing drought.

“No matter where you live, there are now serious water issues. Clean drinking water is an issue for everyone and sufficient water for community and household use is increasing in concern,” says Frequent Television Contributor Terra Wellington, author of The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home. “Now and in the coming years, families will need to take upon themselves a mounting interest in water conservation, preventing global warming, and keeping our waters clean in order to preserve a healthy way of life they have become accustomed to.”

In fact, the United Nation’s recent World Water report outlines how climate change’s main impacts will occur through water and water issues. And with only one percent of the world’s water supplies being fresh water for us to drink, it is imperative that we look after our natural resources.

Here are Wellington’s quick tips on how the average person can 1) conserve water and 2) preserve water’s cleanliness – to save money and to help your community. She has more ideas and information in her book, The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green:

CONSERVE –

○ Go low flow: Install low-flow aerators on all your bathroom faucets and low-flow showerheads. A dual-flush or low-flow toilet is a huge water saver as nearly a third of all the water you use in your home goes down the toilet.
○ Grow native: Gradually switch out your outdoor landscape to native plants. Plants that should be growing in your area already have adapted to your local climate and will require less irrigation water from your pocketbook.
○ Sweep: Let the broom or rake do the work instead of water from a hose. Sweep driveways and sidewalks without the use of water rinsing. Don’t use water to blast leaves off the yard.

PROTECT –

○ Be a friend to the drain: Don’t flush or dump medicines or chemicals down the drain. They often end up in waterways or back in our drinking water -- not all chemicals and medicines can be removed at wastewater plants.
○ Reduce fertilizer use: Use less fertilizer and choose organic, non-polluting fertilizers when possible. Manure can still be polluting.
○ Choose organic and local: Organic and local foods are much less polluting because they tend to zero-to-less, large-scale fertilizers in the agricultural process.

FACTS:

* “The main impacts of climate change on humans and the environment occur through water. Addressing the threats and opportunities of climate change and its impacts on water resources and supplies is vital for even the most remote rural areas....”
-- U.N. 3rd World Water Development Report, March 2009 http://bit.ly/8gx0L

* “Only 1% of the world's water can be used for human consumption. Half of the global population will be living in areas of "acute water shortage" by 2030. In India, where water shortages are already being felt, there were over 50 reported acts of violence over water during the month of May [2009] alone. And while experts estimate 2.5 gallons per person per day is a sustainable amount to use, the average American consumes 100 gallons per day. And that's just household use, not counting the amount used for agriculture and manufacturing of the goods we consume.”
-- Treehugger.com http://www.treehugger.com/water-crisis/

* The June 9, 2009 Drought Monitor report detailed more than a third of the U.S. in drought conditions.
-- National Drought Mitigation Center, http://drought.unl.edu/

* According to a recent Gallup poll, water pollution is the number one environmental concern of Americans.
-- Gallup, 3/25/09 http://bit.ly/TULrp

* At the 2009 Western Governor’s Association meeting, water use and climate change were the top issues. Water conservation in the West needs to become key, along with finding other water sources like capture of rainwater, treated wastewater, and desalination of water.
-- Associated Press report, 6/15/09 http://bit.ly/15Z3h2

* A desalination plant to be built near San Diego is the largest operation in the hemisphere and has been battling lawsuits by environmentalists who raise concerns about “the amount of fish that will be killed by the pumping process and about potential change to the aquatic ecosystem when leftover brine is returned to the sea.”
-- New York Times, 5/14/09 http://bit.ly/cXuEN

* Researchers in Germany have found ways to make drinking water from humidity in desert air.
-- ScienceDaily, 6/8/09 http://bit.ly/3kZF0B

* “Rice University scientists warned that the United States must be careful that the new emphasis on developing biofuels as an alternative to imported oil takes into account potential damage to the nation's water resources.”
-- Rice University, 6/12/09 http://bit.ly/F7cEu

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