Easy Ways to Help Keep the Water Clean
Clean Water. It’s one of our most basic needs. We need water so our body can carry out many of its essential functions like cell regeneration and temperature control. (1) In fact, the average person can only go approximately three days without water, depending on their body type, activity level, overall health, diet, etc. During this time without water, our bodies begin eventually shut down, beginning with seemingly benign symptoms such as dry mouth and quickly progressing to more serious symptoms including delirium and organ failure. (2)
Water makes up about two thirds of the surface area of the earth, and according to the CDC, the water in the United States is some of the safest in the world to drink. (3). And yet, there are still many reasons to be concerned about water quality and accessing clean water. Fortunately, there are several simple things that can be done to proactively protect our drinking water.
- Put waste where it belongs. It is tempting to throw tissues or feminine hygiene products in the toilet, but these types of items can impact the sewage system and ultimately end up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Likewise, old medications, paint, used oil, and chemical cleaners have toxic ingredients that are detrimental to the water supply. Be sure to responsibly dispose of non-degradable waste through proper waste management. It’s likely that your local law enforcement or pharmacy have a drug and medication drop off or turn in program. You can also check with your local, city government or public works about hazardous waste disposal locations or drop off events to prevent water contamination.
- Use water efficiently around the house. If you can, be sure to have water efficient appliances and bathroom fixtures. Opt for a water efficient toilet or place a brick, or similarly sized object, in the tank of your toilet to reduce water used each flush. Switch out your old faucet and shower head for ones that help you conserve water. Turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth. If you need to do laundry or do the dishes, be sure you have a full load before running the washing machine or dishwasher.
- Take doo-doo duty seriously. Not only will your shoes be better off when you pick up after your dog, so will the water supply! When you pick up after your dog, this prevents bacteria from leaching into the water from his or her stools. Your best option is to dispose of pet stools in a pet-waste bag in the garbage.
- Minimize the amount of chemicals you use in your household and vehicle maintenance. Your laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, automotive fluids, and more can all make their way into our rivers and streams, significantly impacting the environment and local ecosystems. Use the minimum amount of detergent required to clean your laundry or dishes and search for all natural or eco-friendly alternatives to lawn care and cleaning options; taking special care to avoid cleaners with phosphates. It also is a good idea to opt for washing your car at the car wash instead of at home because these places often must have a system in place to properly filter out and dispose of harsh cleaning chemicals before they have the chance to make it to our water supply.
- Talk about it! Talk to your friends and neighbors about the steps you’re taking to protect our clean water supply. Encourage them to adopt eco friendly water practices. If you notice and individual or business actively engaging in practices that are hazardous to the environment or water supply, don’t be afraid to inform local authorities about what is or isn’t happening.
While this isn’t an all inclusive list, it will provide you with some basic ideas to form positive habits and start actively maintaining a good water supply. Though it seems like our water is clean, plentiful, and accessible, we still have a responsibility to ensure it stays that way, and we can have a big impact by making a few small changes. Where will you start?