Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Price of Water Vs. Conservation

When your water bill comes in the mail do you look at it in shock and say, “I better cut back on how much water I’m using so my bill will be lower next time.” I know that’s not the case with me. Because water is priced so reasonably we don’t think about conserving it like we should. On the other hand, as an owner of rental property, I do watch the water bills to look for spikes that might indicate a leaky toilet, faucet or misuse by tenants. To help keep our water bill reasonable, we install low-flow shower heads in all of our units and do inspections to check faucets/toilets on a regular basis.

Even though water is so reasonably priced, that doesn’t mean we should abuse it and not conserve it. Take time to do some of these simple things to save this precious resource. What do you do to conserve water?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Remembering a Groundwater Hero

by Cindy Kreifels, Groundwater Foundation Executive Vice President

Today I learned that the world has lost a hero, a groundwater hero that is. Vernon Haverstick, 91, of El Paso, Texas passed away on February 11, 2010. I had the pleasure of meeting Vern and his wife Ann many years ago because of the great work has done on behalf of groundwater.

Vern became involved in groundwater protection in 1989 by participating in the El Paso Wellhead Protection Project. Vern learned of the project through the El Paso Retired Senior Volunteer Program and took the initiative to assist in recruiting 23 citizen volunteers to conduct a potential contaminant source inventory around El Paso’s 144 public water supply wells. Vern helped to write a “how-to” manual describing the methods utilized which the EPA has distributed in many states throughout the country and has been translated into several languages and distributed in other countries. The methodology, techniques, and inventory forms developed by Vern and his team of volunteers to conduct comprehensive groundwater protection inventories have been utilized by communities throughout the nation. Vern and his team of volunteers also inventoried drinking water supplies and septic tank systems in the colonias throughout El Paso County, and he served as a mentor for many students participating in a bi-national groundwater protection project.

Vern was a perfect example of the action that could and should be taken locally to help protect groundwater resources. In 1996, The Groundwater Foundation had the honor to recognize Vern Haverstick for his achievements. Today, we do the same. Vern was a true friend to groundwater, the kind every community needs.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Whose Responsibility Is It?

President’s Day will be celebrated on Monday, February 15, 2010. As we celebrate this day, most will be glad that it’s a holiday and hence they don’t have to get up and go to work.

Yet what is the true purpose of President’s Day? To commemorate the good our nation’s leaders have done?

Nearly from the beginning of this country, water has been an issue worth the consideration of our leaders. Much has been accomplished to protect and conserve our water resources since the founding of our country. Some notable accomplishments include:

• Creation of:
        - The Army Corp of Engineers
        - The US Bureau of Reclamation
        - The Inland Waterways Commission
        - The Tennessee Valley Authority
        - Soil and water conservation division of US Department of Ag
        - The Senate Select Committee on Water Resources
        - Earth Day
        - The US Environmental Protection Agency

• Authorization of:
        - The Reclamation Act
        - The Water Pollution Control Act
        - The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act
        - The Clean Water Act
        - Safe Drinking Water Act
        - The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
        - Superfund legislation
        - Public Health Security, Bioterrorism Preparedness & Response Act

The leaders of our country have indeed worked towards the protection and conservation of our water resources. But should that burden fall solely on their shoulders? Should we depend upon the lawmakers to protect a resource that is so vitally important to everyone’s life and livelihood? Shouldn’t we as citizens of this country and those who depend upon water for life take responsibility towards its protection as well?

Share what you and/or your community are doing to help protect groundwater. Give others inspiration to do the same.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Super 'bowl' Game

I don’t know about you, but this year’s Super Bowl couldn’t be a better matchup in my mind.
On the one hand, you have the Indianapolis Colts. Led by one of the greatest quarterbacks and game-day managers in the history of the National Football League (Peyton Manning), they have a been-there, done-that kind of attitude that permeates throughout the team.
On the other hand, you have my favorite team in the NFL -- the New Orleans Saints. People used to go to their games and put bags over their heads because the team was so terrible. But with the help of Drew Brees and Reggie Bush, the Saints have brought a sense of rejuvenation to the entire city especially in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

So what does water have to do with the Super Bowl? Denver Business Journal writer Cathy Proctor grabbed my interest when she mentioned the other “bowl” in her blog column this week. Of course, I’m talking about the toilet bowl. Legend says that during halftime of the Super Bowl toilets will be flushed 90 million times! I’m guessing that is an urban legend but even if that number is cut in half that is still a lot of flushing.

According to the Nebraska Lower Platte North Natural Resource District, the most common source of leaks is the toilet. To check your toilet for leaks, put a few drops of food dye in the tank and wait 15 minutes. If color appears in the bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired. Leaky toilets can usually be repaired inexpensively by replacing the flapper or adjusting the water level. According to Proctor, toilets produced prior to 1994 used 3.5 gallons to 7 gallons per flush. Since 1994, federal law has required all newly manufactured toilets to use 1.6 gallons or less per flush. So maybe a new toilet before the Super Bowl game is another option to help conserve our precious resource.

Oh and my pick for the big game – the Saints.

Brian Reetz
Program Coordinator