Water is essential to help keeping life flowing all year round, but during the hottest months of the year, it plays an key role. As temperatures climb, so does our use of water in and around the home. In fact, water use in the summer is typically three to five times as much as winter water use. Meanwhile, many of us turn to water for our summer fun. Whether it’s a day at the beach, fun at the lake, or somewhere else. But did you know that you have a role in protecting those sources of water at home and at play?
It’s true. Before water runs through your tap, and even before it goes through treatment at one of our plants, it’s pulled from a natural source. For most of the United States, that source is either ground water or surface water. The latter — includes streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs — and accounts for 75-80% of the nation’s total freshwater withdrawals. For many of us, the way we use water at home impacts the water sources in our communities, and the way we treat our water sources impacts the water we use at home.
By taking certain steps at home, we can protect our community water sources.
It may be hard to imagine, but some of our actions at home can have a direct impact on lakes, rivers, streams, and reservoirs that may be miles away. Luckily, there are some simple ways to make ourselves and our homes more water-source friendly.
- Conserve water use at home. Follow water conservation tips like waiting for a full load to start the laundry machine or dishwasher.
- Limit water use in the yard. Implement outdoor water conservation methods, know how much water you really need instead of overwatering. Water plants and lawns during the cooler hours of the day to reduce water use.
- Take hazardous materials to safe and proper collection sites. Hazardous household wastes such as cleaners, oils, paints and batteries should NEVER be dumped down your sink, toilet or storm drains.
- Dispose of prescriptions properly. Don’t flush any medications down the drain. Dispose of pharmaceuticals by taking them to designated collection sites, where available, or follow directions for safe home disposal.
- Limit the use of fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn. Consider using natural alternatives or landscaping with native plants and use mulch on bare ground and slopes to prevent erosion and runoff.
By being careful about how we use our water sources, we can safeguard the water we use at home.
While enjoying the beauty and fun that our natural water sources have to offer, it’s also important to remember to leave them as you found them. Here are a few additional tips for protecting water sources this summer:
- Boat responsibly. Spending a day on the water can be the perfect summer activity, when done safely. Fuel your boat cautiously and keep the engine well-tuned to prevent oil leaks.
- Clean up after yourself. At the end of a day on the water, make sure you’re not leaving anything behind. Pick up trash and any personal belongings to help ensure they’re not washed into these delicate ecosystems.
- Pick up after pets. Our furry friends should be able to enjoy a day in the sun as well, but don’t let them leave anything behind either.
- Fish with care. If you enjoy fishing, make sure your tools are the safest options. Swap out lead sinkers and jigs in favor of non-toxic tackle options.
- Avoid contamination. Don’t use soaps or shampoos in these bodies of water, as they contain nutrients and pollutants that can be harmful to the ecosystem.
For more information on source water protection at American Water, Click here.