Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Green Sites calling all golfers

Warmer weather in Nebraska makes me think of a few things but one of them highest on my list is venturing into the storage spot in my fairly messy garage and pulling out my golf clubs. I know they aren’t in the best of shape. I know I need a new bag. I know I need some new shoes. Maybe someday. And let’s not even talk about my pathetic swing. But none of that is going to stop me from enjoying such a great activity.

It’s great getting out and about, especially after the rough, cold winter that we had in the Cornhusker State, and enjoying a golf course.

I’ve gotten a new appreciation for them since I started as a program coordinator at The Groundwater Foundation nearly a year ago. We have a program called Groundwater Guardian Green Sites that recognizes good stewards of groundwater. Many of them are golf courses across the state and the country. I’ve had the great opportunity to sit down with some of the superintendents and PGA professionals one-on-one and talk about the practices they have implemented. I have shared some new ideas that we have heard about that will improve their practices too.

The program is continuing to grow every day. In 2007, there were just a few pilot sites and now I feel like I can venture across the state and the country and find one. I plan on doing that this Spring as well as finding more courses to become part of such a great recognition program.

You can find more about the program on our website:

-- Brian Reetz

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fix a Leak Week

Last week was National Groundwater Awareness Week, and in continuing with the water week theme, this week Americans are encouraged to Fix a Leak. 

According to U.S. EPA, household leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water per year—that's equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami combined—and ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.  Fixing leaks in your home will help save money on your water bill, and more importantly, save water for future generations.

To check for leaks, examine your winter water usage. It’s likely that a family of four has a serious leak problem if its winter water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month.  Or you can check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.

So check your faucets, toilets, showerheads, and hoses for leaks this week:
  • Check the washers and gaskets on your faucets and showerheads for wear and replace them if necessary.  A faucet leaking at just one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year, and a showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year.  Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench.
  • Place a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank and check the bowl for color after a few minutes or before flushing.  If your toilet is running constantly, you could be wasting 200 gallons or more of water every day.  If your toilet is leaking, the cause is most often an old, faulty toilet flapper. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays, or minerals build up on it. It's usually best to replace the whole rubber flapper—a relatively easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project that pays for itself in no time.
  • Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks while you run your hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.
  • Landscape irrigation systems should be checked each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost or freezing.  An irrigation system with pressure set at 60 pounds per square inch that has a leak 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.
In many cases, fixture replacement parts pay for themselves quickly and can be installed by do-it-yourselfers or a trusted professional plumber.

For more information on events going on to promote Fix a Leak Week, visit

For more information on U.S. EPA's WaterSense program, including tips, rebates, water use calculators, quizzes, and more, visit


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Let's Keep It Clean launches

Not only is it Groundwater Awareness Weeek, but we at The Groundwater Foundation are also excited to announce the launching of a new campaign, “Let’s Keep It Clean!” The goal of the campaign is to empower people to play a key part in protecting their groundwater. The main objectives are to create awareness and understanding of the vital resource and provide tools for individual communities to take proactive steps to ensure a safe, lasting supply.

One of our most precious is our groundwater - it’s the water we drink, the water that grows our food. Each of us relies on it and it relies on us so let’s keep it clean.

Thanks to our media sponsors here in Nebraska, the home of The Groundwater Foundation, radio and television ads will be running reminding people of the important resource. In addition The Groundwater Foundation staff will be working within communities all across Nebraska. The Groundwater Foundation will help communities put a plan into action by meeting with local leaders. It will generate awareness and inspire action in the communities by participation in city-wide events and presentations to local businesses.

If you don’t live in Nebraska, access to the ads and many more tools are available on our website,  Just click on the Let’s Keep It Clean button.

While visiting the page you can make your pledge to protect groundwater, remembering that individually we act, collectively we make a difference.

Please let us know what you and/or your community are doing!

A special thank you to our Let’s Keep It Clean sponsors: the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Water Systems Council.

Cheers to clean groundwater for generations to come!

Jane Griffin, Groundwater Foundation President

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Happy Groundwater Awareness Week!

by Jane Griffin, Groundwater Foundation President

Happy National Groundwater Awareness Week!

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has proclaimed this week, March 7-13, 2010, as Groundwater Awareness Week in Nebraska in recognition of the nationwide significance of our work here at The Groundwater Foundation and the vital need to protect groundwater in Nebraska. 

Groundwater is the water that fills the cracks, voids and other openings in the soil, sand and bedrock. It’s the water we drink – over 85% of Nebraskans rely on groundwater for their drinking water. It’s the water that grows our crops – groundwater is the major source of irrigation. 

Groundwater is a hidden resource that many of us take for granted - instead of taking it for granted, it is a resource that we must recognize for the vital role it plays in our lives and ensure that a safe, clean supply will be available for our children and grandchildren.

This week is also National Groundwater Awareness Week, so it is a perfect time for the Governor to make his proclamation and for The Groundwater Foundation to launch its new campaign, “Let’s Keep It Clean!” The goal of the campaign is to empower the people of Nebraska to play a key part in protecting their groundwater. The main objectives of the campaign are to create awareness and understanding of the vital resource and provide tools for individual communities to take proactive steps to ensure a safe, lasting supply.

Here are a few tips to get you started:
  • Not sure what to do with hazardous substances? Contact local waste authorities about proper disposal of hazardous substances such as pesticides/herbicides, antifreeze, fertilizer, paint/paint thinner, oil and chemicals.
  • Use the recommended amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
  • If you own a water well, have your water tested annually. Also test if there is a change in the odor, taste or smell.
  • If you own a septic tank, have it cleaned and serviced regularly to prevent a breakdown that could pollute your groundwater.

For more information about how you can get involved, visit and click on the Let’s Keep It Clean button.