by Sally Hopley

Fresh water is all around us and used not only for our daily tasks but for food production, and the products we use. By now, most folks know it is important to reduce their water use, but here’s a quick reminder of why it is important.

  • There is a limited amount of water on the Earth for all of the needs on the planet, and the vast majority of water is salt water.
  • As the human population grows, the stresses on water resources intensifies, not only for the volume, but the quality. The changing climate will continue to intensify these stresses as well.

However, not all of the news is negative. The awareness of water concerns continues to grow and as public interest rises, companies both large and small are setting water reduction and other environmentally-themed goals.

Individuals have an important role to play to reduce the volume of water used and to improve the quality of water. Individuals can use their buying power to support companies that use resources responsibly. Clothes are one example. Last year, the GOC hosted a showing of the documentary River Blue, a movie that showed the impact of the clothing industry on water quality.

However, there are still many things you can do in your home to help reduce water use and improve water quality.

While green lawns are pretty, the traditional management of lawns in the United States is not only a vast user of water, but also substantially contributes to the pollution of water, reducing water quality. The lower the water quality, the more chemicals and treatments that have to happen to make the water safe for human consumption again.

The Omaha Stormwater Program has a plethora of resources to help you reduce your impact on water through yard care. Reducing or eliminating pesticide use, watering only as needed and in the early morning hours, and choosing drought-resistant and native landscaping will reduce water consumption, save money, and still keep your yard looking beautiful. The Nebraska Extension Office also offers many resources and helpful staff to help you make lawn care decisions. MUD also offers a $50 rebate on a rain sensor for your irrigation system.

Reducing indoor water use is also important. As possible, buy WaterSmart appliances. Fix any leaks quickly, saving not only time but also money. Also be sure to not dump hazardous materials down the drain. Under the Sink is a local company that will accept hazardous materials for safe disposal.

Recently, the GOC hosted a booth at the World O! Water Day, and we invited individuals to take a pledge that would reduce water use or improve water quality. We had 32 pledges! Write yours today and post it on the refrigerator as a reminder.