Tuesday, December 20, 2011


That is always the question during the Christmas season—do we get a real tree or get the artificial one back out of storage?  Growing up our family always had an artificial tree--reason being you buy it once, it lasts for many seasons, and you don’t have to keep it watered.  Seems reasonable right?  After researching this subject, next year the family may be going on a tree hunt through the country sides!

Artificial trees are made from a kind of plastic called polyvinyl chloride, which is derived from petroleum and can contain lead or other harmful toxins.  Also, about 80% of fake trees are manufactured in China, where most electricity is generated by burning coal—one of the dirtiest fuel sources.   After the trees are made, they must also be shipped across the ocean, usually in diesel-fuel powered ships, resulting in even more greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.  The average family keeps a fake tree for about five to six years, and then it goes to the landfill, where it just sits because it doesn’t biodegrade.  In contrast, real trees are completely recyclable, and they are grown in the United States on thousands of farms that employ an estimated 100,000 people.

Here’s another interesting fact—for every real Christmas tree that is sold, about nine more are left to mature and grow to the desired heights on the farms.  There are about 12,000 tree farms in the U.S. that are growing about 400 million trees right now.  So there are actually more Christmas trees than there are people living in the U.S.!  As the trees are maturing, they will recycle the air, purify groundwater, stabilize the soil and provide homes for birds, mammals, and insects.   After the Christmas season is done, the trees can be recycled and used as mulch.  Other uses for the recycles trees include being used as fish habitats, heron nesting grounds, used to prevent beach erosion, and to preserve freshwater marshes.

Real or fake—next year as the time approaches to get the artificial tree out again—maybe a trip to a tree farm may be in order!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Children

The other day I was watching my three-year-old granddaughter, Brynn, as my daughter had some errands to run and it is always much easier to so without a wee one in tow.  We had eaten a small, but messy snack and as I ran the water wanting it to warm some in order to wash her sticky hands, Brynn looks up at me and says “Grandma, don’t run the water too long, you’re wasting it.”  I responded to this comment in two ways.  First I was absolutely beaming with pride that my very young grandchild could understand that we need to conserve and be mindful about water use.  And, secondly, that I, someone that knows better than to run water to warm it up yet wanted to make sure it was comfortable for her grandchild, was irresponsibly running the water in a very wasteful way.  What an “aha” moment! 

Each of us through our everyday actions protect groundwater and sometimes forget or justify why we can’t protect it just now.  The Groundwater Foundation develops programs and projects that can help us better understand how our actions can impact groundwater – the water we drink and the water that grows our food.  Help us as this year draws to a close by becoming a member of The Groundwater Foundation.  Through our work, many other children and adults will know that we don’t need to run the water long enough to warm it up.  It works just fine right out of the tap or if you really want to run it to get warm water then capture the water that is running in a watering can and use it to water your plants.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sparks make the world go round!

As I work with different communities across the state of Nebraska, each of them has their own way of getting projects accomplished. Some of them are lead by a strong central government, while others are more grassroots with citizens across the community taking up the good fight!

But all of them have sparks! You know that segment of the community that gets projects going and done with tremendous results. You just never know where you might find them. Sure they can be part of the governmental structure but many times they are behind the scenes in a community and just want to do their part to help a project succeed.

On Tuesday I was in Fairbury doing work for my Let’s Keep It Clean program and I was fortunate enough to have meetings with a couple of sparks. I won’t name them but be assured that they are doing the right things in Fairbury and moving the town in a direction that will be great. They give me energy too. After distributing toolkits throughout the community to make my program even more sustainable I left with a great feeling about the home of the Jeffs.

So what about you? Are you a spark? Let us know what you did today to help protect water resources within your community, state or the world!

-- Brian Reetz

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth. A concept I was first introduced to in my high school environmental studies class. We are all on this one ship and must share the available resources.  Are there enough resources for the people that live here? Are we taking care of these resources for future generations?
This past week there was some media coverage on the world reaching 7 billion people. It has also been estimated by 2050 the world population will be at 9 billion.  What does this growing population mean for our “Spaceship Earth?”

Recently I read an interesting article on water use and population growth. With the growing population there is an ever growing need for water.

What are your thoughts on the growing world population and the future of the Earth’s natural resources?  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall and Pumpkins!

Fall is a beautiful time of year—the trees are painting a beautiful countryside picture, there is a crispness in the air, football is in full swing, and pumpkin patches are popping up everywhere.   Have you ever grown a pumpkin in your garden?  Well, here is a simple recipe to grow your own pumpkin.  Of course, you will need pumpkin seeds, some good well-drained soil in a sunny spot and lots of water!  If pumpkins could speak, their first words would probably be:  “Gimme a drink!”  Between 80 to 90% of every pumpkin is water; and water is an essential medium for bringing nourishment to the entire plant.  Fortunately, the plant has a built-in water-gathering and water-conservation system.  The huge leaves are a hovering mulch, mediating ground and sky, shading the soil, keeping it moist, and inhibiting competition from weeds.  They are also exquisitely designed to draw nourishment from the sun and guide water to the base of the plant.  If a pumpkin seed is planted in the spring, you should have a pumpkin in approximately 85-125 days depending on the pumpkin variety. 

So here’s to fall, growing pumpkins, and our most precious resource--water!  Without it, there would be no pumpkin pie!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Become a Part of the Winning Team!

In these tough economic times we have been experiencing over the past few years, it has become more and more difficult to find the dollars to support the work of educating about groundwater and inspiring people to act to protect it for the future.  I know there are hundreds of very worthy causes out there, each of them vying for dwindling philanthropic dollars.  So how do we make potential funders understand the importance of our cause?  Do we have to move towards scare tactics – you know the “without water we cannot survive” message? 

This has never been the Groundwater Foundation’s way of operating. We have always felt that helping people understand groundwater’s importance in a positive way would inspire them to do the right thing; that the “winning team” approach of recognizing the good work done towards protecting and conserving the resource is the better way to go.  So while these tough times put that belief to the test – let’s show that it will prevail -- join us as we work to “recharge our aquifer” through our membership campaign.  You can become a member today by clicking here and supporting our goal of clean, sustainable groundwater for future generations.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What is your community doing?

By Brian Reetz, Program Coordinator

During our national conference last week in Omaha, I was lucky to present to the group with the former mayor of Wayne, Nebraska, Lois Shelton.

I first met Lois at a League of Municipalities meeting a couple of years ago. I thought Wayne would be a great fit with our Let’s Keep it Clean program that we were just starting as they were just forming a Green Team in the community.

I think our growth of the program and the growth of the Green Team has been a key to seeing sustainability. Our work helped them see some possibilities that could be done. Their passion to do it in their community helped us know it would be successful. From forming a Groundwater Guardian team to establishing Green Sites in the community as well as community events and programs with youth, Wayne is doing its part to make the community and groundwater sustainable.

What are you and your community doing today to make groundwater sustainable for future generations?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Shall we Tweet?

Do you tweet? Just a year or so ago, people would have given you a very disconcerting look if you posed that question that to them. Now it’s all the rage!

Just a year ago, Twitter delivered 65 million Tweets a day. Now that number of tweets is over 200 million a day. More than half of the 100 million active users log in each day to see what is going on in the world.

So with that in mind, we (@groundwaterfdn) will be tweeting from our national conference next week. So if you aren’t on Twitter yet, get signed up today. We will be sharing information from the different presentations that take place.

You don’t need to tweet yourself, just follow us or follow the hashtag (a hashtag is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet and keeps you organized) #GWF11 by doing a search.

Share this with your friends and followers too and the tweeting will travel across the globe as nearly 70 percent of the tweets written are from outside of the United States.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pollution Prevention Week

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  The old adage rings true, especially during Pollution Prevention Week!

In recognition, the U.S. EPA has launched a new tool to help consumers make greener choices in selecting products, from cleaners to appliances to automobiles.

The Greener Products portal, online at http://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts/, links users to various EPA programs and information about how each of us can make green choices.

Learn more about Pollution Prevention week at http://www.epa.gov/p2week/ and find tips on how you can help make pollution prevention an integral part of your life. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Not Just Another Tuesday!

September 13, 2011, is not just another Tuesday! Do you know what makes September 13th special?

It’s Protect Your Groundwater Day!

Visit the National Groundwater Association (NGWA) website to learn more!

 Groundwater Education - Santa Clara Valley Water District, California
 Groundwater Guardian Affiliate

 Shoreline Restoration Project/Education - Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, Florida
Groundwater Guardian

 River Clean-up - Elkhart, Indiana
Groundwater Guardian

Rain Garden - Calumet, Wisconsin
Groundwater Guardian

 Pharmaceutical Take-back Program - Marshfield, Wisconsin
Groundwater Guardian

What will you do on September 13th and everyday to help do your part in protecting the water you drink and the water that grows your food?

Monday, August 29, 2011


Smell the crispness in the air…hear the sounds of high school/college bands…see the crowds of shoppers at the mall—yes it’s back to school time!  That can only mean back to the books, homework and tests.  So I thought it would be fun to get you and your kids ready for the school year by playing a trivia game about water and groundwater.  Good Luck!  Answers and grading scale are at the end of the test—but don’t peek!

1)   How long can a person live without water?
       a.  Approximately 2 days
       b.  Approximately 5 days
       c.  Approximately 1 week
       d.  Approximately 2 weeks                    
2)   Name a possible source of groundwater contamination. 
a.       Fertilizer
b.      Landfill
c.       Septic tank
d.      All of the above
3)   What is water stored in an aquifer called? 
a.       Surface water
b.      Groundwater
c.       Aquafina
d.      River water
4)   What is the name for an underground layer of sand, gravel or other rock that is a source of groundwater to wells or springs? 
a.       Well
b.      Sand pit
c.       Aquifer
d.      None of the above
5)   The same water that Shakespeare used to wash his ink pens may be the water that you used to brush your teeth this morning. 
a.       True
b.      False
6)   What percent of people in the U.S. rely on groundwater for drinking water? 
a.       25%
b.      50%
c.       75%
d.      None of the above
7)   How much of the world’s water is found in glaciers? 
a.       2%
b.      4%
c.       8%
d.      10%
8)  Over 80 percent of the trash floating in the ocean is what? 
a.       Aluminum
b.      Cardboard
c.       Plastic
d.      Metal
9)  About how many gallons of water does it take to produce a hamburger, fries and soft drink?
a.       100
b.      500
c.       1000
d.      1500
10) Who has the responsibility to protect groundwater?
       a.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
       b.  State agencies
       c.   Federal government
       d.  All of us

1) c; 2) d; 3) b; 4) c; 5) a; 6) b; 7) a; 8) c; 9) d; 10) d

8-10 correct answers – A+
4-7 correct answers – B
0-3 correct answers – You need to study more – check out the fun groundwater trivia game, Dripial   Pursuit and many other educational materials at The Groundwater Foundation’s online catalog www.groundwater.org 
Questions were taken from Dripial Pursuit, a product of The Groundwater Foundation.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Clean Drinking Water: A Precious Commodity

Last week ranked right up there as one of the scariest of my life.  You see, my 10-week old grandson had been quite ill with a high fever since Sunday night. Then on Wednesday, the city in which they live declared a boil order for the city due to e-coli in the water.  My son immediately knew he needed to call the baby’s doctor in order to discuss treatment.  First step, take in a soiled diaper for sampling.  As is often the case, the results could not be obtained for a couple of days.  Talk about a long and somewhat grueling wait.  In the interim, the doctor did give the baby an antibiotic just in case. 

Today we just found out that this precious little baby tested negative for e-coli.  And, thank goodness he is feeling much better now.  However, what this reinforced for me is how very important the work of The Groundwater Foundation is to all of us.  So many times we think that things like this will never happen to us.  Fortunately my grandson did not have e-coli in his system, but just the scare made me realize that each of us must be vigilant in our day-to-day lives in order to make sure that the water we drink is suitable for consumption.  We must educate everyone to care about this precious resource and to do their part to protect it. 

Today is a good day!  My grandson is no longer sick.  I get to share my story with you.  And each of us has the opportunity to protect groundwater.  To learn more on how to protect groundwater, visit The Groundwater Foundation website, www.groundwater.org. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Evaluating Groundwater Concerns

By Brian Reetz, Program Coordinator
One of my favorite parts about working at The Groundwater Foundation is spending time in communities and talking with the people. It doesn’t matter if it is the mayor, the local business owner or just someone walking down the street, it is important to me that all of them become aware about groundwater and the impact they can have on it.

When I make presentations in communities, I have them fill out a simple evaluation when they first come into the room. I don’t want to even have them talk to me first, just fill out the simple form that you see here.

I recently used the form during a visit to Fairbury, Nebraska. Of course they all feel that clean drinking water is “extremely important” to them but many of them initially say clean groundwater is just “very important.” But by the end of my presentation, I’m sure they switch over to the extremely side! I like to think that they are at least very informed about groundwater issues in their area by the end (many of them have great questions) and then know that they use groundwater every day. 

So how about you? Print out the survey and mail it in to me today or email it back to me (breetz@groundwater.org) and include any questions that you might have. You can send a hard copy to The Groundwater Foundation, PO Box 22558, Lincoln, NE 68542.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cruel Summer

By Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

I heard the song “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama on the radio the other day.  It was well into the 90s that day in Lincoln, with the heat index over 100 degrees.  The extreme weather that’s been plaguing much of the country as of late leads me to believe it is indeed a cruel summer.

“Hot summer streets and the pavements are burning…”

Portions of the U.S. are experiencing drought categorized as “exceptional” by the U.S. Drought Mitigation Center (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/).  Records for heat have been shattered across the country.  In northern Texas, Amarillo reached the 100 degree mark for 30 days in a row.  On July 19, Knoxville, Iowa had a head index of 131 degrees!  Talk about cruel.

“It’s too close for comfort, this heat has got right out of hand…”

While the heat and humidity have me longing for the cool crisp days of fall, summer, with the heat it brings, is an opportune time to promote water conservation.  Whether it’s installing water efficient appliances and fixtures in your home, utilizing native plants in your landscape, watering efficiently, or simply turning off the water when you brush your teeth, it’s important that each of us take measures to reduce our water use in these hot summer months, and encourage our friends, neighbors, and family members to do the same.

As far as the heat?  Well, I have to agree with Bananarama:

“It’s too hot to handle so I got to get up and go…"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Float Down the Niobrara

by Jane Griffin, The Groundwater Foundation

Hopefully many of you read the most recent post “Beating the Heat in Water”; it gives some great suggestions for summer activities – many that are made possible by groundwater!

I personally had the opportunity to do one of the suggested activities: float down the Niobrara River.

In addition to being a beautiful trip, it was relaxing and inspiring.  I highly recommend the trip to an amazing portion of the state of Nebraska.  In addition to enjoying the float down the river the area is full of places to discover.  One of the most remarkable is Smith Falls, but just as inspirational is the opportunity to enjoy the diverse nature and the different sounds and scents.  

Constantly I was reminded of what is so important to creating this amazing area – groundwater.  You don’t have to look very hard and you find evidence of its presence.  For instance, from this photo taken from the Cowboy Trail southeast of Valentine, you can see the beautiful bend in the Niobrara River.  You might think, that is nice but it is not groundwater.  Well, in fact 80% of the streamflow of the Niobrara comes from groundwater, through the riverbed! 

Share an experience you have had on the Niobrara – or elsewhere in water!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beating the Heat in Water

by Jamie Oltman, The Groundwater Foundation
It’s summer! In Nebraska that means heat and humidity. 

To beat the heat of summer many of us tend to visit water rich places to cool off.  Popular destinations in Nebraska include Lake McConaughy, the Missouri River, and the Niobrara River. 

What does the summer of 2011 bring for these water rich destinations?

Lake McConaughy
Lake McConaughy is Nebraska’s largest reservoir spanning 35,700 surface acres. This summer flows have reached almost 100%. Last year the lake was at 75% capacity. The lake has not reached this capacity in over 10 years. Inflows to the lake have been above normal this year due to above average snowpack in Colorado and Wyoming. The lake is a great place to visit. To learn more about Lake McConaughy visit, http://www.lakemcconaughy.com

The Missouri River
In past years the Missouri river welcomed many recreational water sports. This summer the US Coast Guard closed the Missouri river to all recreational boat traffic. High rainfall from Montana has increased water releases from the reservoirs upstream causing the need for increased discharge at Gavins Point Dam. There are many Nebraska State Parks along and close to the Missouri river. The flooding has caused the boat docks to close but the parks are still open and welcoming visitors. Visit http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/campaign/flooding.asp to learn more about the effects of the Missouri River flooding and impact on the State Parks. 

The Niobrara River
The Niobrara River flows along the northern border of Nebraska and is known as a great river to canoe, tube, or kayak. The river provides beautiful views of prairie and bluffs. With all the rain and snow causing flooding this spring the Niobrara Scenic River portion of the Niobrara has not been affected. This is because this portion of the river is mainly fed by groundwater from the High Plains Aquifer. The river is impacted more by water withdrawals due to irrigation than rainfall and snowmelt. To learn more visit http://www.nps.gov/niob/index.htm.

Where does the water in your favorite lake, stream or river come from? Think about the environmental and human impacts that could affect that body of water. Is it currently affected by drought or flooding? Are there potential pollution hazards? Are there things you can do to help keep your favorite spot clean and healthy? 

Next time you sit back and relax on a hot summer day with your toes in the water at your favorite water rich location take a second to reflect on this precious resource.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


As we celebrated our country’s independence this past weekend, we should also celebrate our precious resource water every day!  Our country is blessed with ample, clean water supplies in comparison to other countries around the world.  For example, almost one fifth of the world’s population (about 1.2 billion people) lives in areas where the water is physically scarce.  One quarter of the global population also live in developing countries that face water shortages due to a lack of infrastructure to fetch water from rivers and aquifers.  (World Health Organization)

Water is an essential resource to sustain life.  As governments and community organizations make it a priority to deliver adequate supplies of quality water to people, individuals can help by learning how to conserve and protect the resource in their daily lives.

The Groundwater Foundation’s program called Groundwater Guardian encourages communities of all types (cities, counties, watershed, etc.) to begin and enhance groundwater education and protection activities.  Groundwater Guardian supports communities in their efforts and recognizes their achievements.  You can learn more about the Groundwater Guardian program at http://www.groundwater.org/gg/gg.html.

As you drink a glass of water, take your shower, water your garden—remember how precious water is to you and your fellow Americans.  Take steps today to protect and conserve this precious resource—share your ideas with your friends and neighbors!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Environmental Education: What Difference Has It Made?

How many of you have provided environmental education to youth?  Whether it was at a fair, a water festival, a school, after school program, or community event, many of us have spent many hours and resources educating youth about water issues or other environmental topic.  Have you ever wondered where these children are now?  Grown up for sure, but how did the messages we shared with them make a difference in their lives?  Wouldn’t it be awesome to know what they are up to now? 

On occasion we hear from a former student and learn of what a groundwater festival meant to them.  One such story comes from Brandon , now pursuing his master’s degree in sustainable rural development.  Brandon wrote “It may be hard to believe that something like the Groundwater Festival could have such an impact on someone's life but it is true. The concepts I learned at an early age stayed with me and translated into a drive to deepen my knowledge in that area. That is exactly why programs like this are so important because they plant the seeds. Seeds that one day may grow into something great.” 

What have you heard back from the students you have educated?  Or better yet, if you are a student who attended one of these events, what impact has it had on your life?  Did it influence your career path?  Have you changed your habits to be more water friendly? 

We’d love to hear from you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's time again for camp!

By Brian Reetz, Program Coordinator

For those of you who follow The Groundwater Foundation on Twitter and Facebook, you probably know that last week we (lead by Jamie Oltman) hosted our Outdoor Adventures in H2O camp here in Lincoln.

The camp is for youth who just finished fifth through seventh grade and they brought a ton of energy to the camp each day! And they needed to! We are on the go all of the time and for us educators, we bring our energy too!

We try to make it a great mix of educating while allowing them time to be kids in nature -- from searching for frogs to playing in and around the water.

On Monday, we hiked to Antelope Park in Lincoln and along the way we did a city safari scavenger hunt. Once at the park we did a recharge vs. runoff activity, a well in a cup activity, built Awesome Aquifers and they began working on their watershed models that they would work on the entire week. On Tuesday, we taught them about macroinvertebrates in preparation for our trip to Spring Creek Prairie later in the day where we did dip netting and other observation in a beautiful setting.

On Wednesday, we were on the road first thing as we took a bus to Branched Oak Organic Farm. After a tour and a chance to taste their yummy cheese, we hiked down to the pond. While we were at the pond we did a clean water challenge (testing for turbidity) and also did more dip netting for macroinvertebrates.  On Thursday, we spent the whole day at Holmes Lake. After surviving a morning rain storm, we worked with the groundwater flow model and did the water cycle journey. Then we worked on a lake cleanup.

Friday was the culmination of the entire week and we all met at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. The students took everything that they had learned during the week and shared it with visitors to the zoo. It was great to see how much they had learned and then were willing to share with an even younger group of kids. After a hike back to the school that hosted us, the kids shared the watershed models they had worked on all week with their parents.  

But click the link and watch the video (thanks to Jennifer) …it really captures what the week was like!

Outdoor Adventures in H2O Camp

Friday, June 3, 2011

A New Perspective

By Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

Since starting my tenure with The Groundwater Foundation, I’ve (obviously) been aware of and concerned about the quality of our drinking water.  Growing up in rural Nebraska, I drank well water and never gave it a second thought.  After I started at the Foundation in 2000, water and the many threats to its quality and quantity were much more prominent in my thoughts and helped shape my actions.

My husband and I had our first child, a daughter, in March (actually, she was born during National Groundwater Week!).  Since her birth, I can’t help but think about Groundwater Foundation founder and President Emeritus Susan Seacrest and the concern over her infant son’s health that eventually lead to the creation of the Foundation.  (Read more about the Foundation’s history at http://www.groundwater.org/au/history.html).  Even though I’ve worked to be an advocate of clean groundwater for the past 11 years through the Foundation’s programs and projects, I now feel a more intense responsibility to help protect the resource; not only because it’s the right thing to do, but  because the stakes are higher now because it will impact my daughter’s future.  My new perspective as a parent has increased my respect for the communities, individuals, and organizations out there working to educate people and protect our precious water resources.  My daughter thanks you! 

What or who has inspired you to be a steward of water?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


That is the question that plagued me this morning as I took our dog for a walk. 

Why are the sprinklers running in so many of the yards in our neighborhood when yesterday and throughout the night we received significant downpours which thoroughly nourished our lawns?

I kept walking and I kept counting the houses whose already soaked lawns were being watered.

Maybe your house was one of them, maybe you have meant to put a water sensor on your sprinkler system, but just haven’t gotten around to it. 

Why not?

I don’t have an underground sprinkler system so I looked to see if maybe a water sensor is cost-prohibitive…well, that didn’t seem to be the case.  In fact I found quite a few that are very affordable and some that are even on sale.  Here is where I found the products:


So, why waste water?  Why stress our lawns with too much water?  Let’s all do our part to be wise about our water use.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Moms and Water--What's the Connection?

As another Mother’s Day has just come and gone, I was reflecting on how precious our moms are to us.  They are the driving force behind every family.  How does water come into this picture?  Just like moms, water is a very precious resource that is also the driving force behind everything we do on this earth. 

Below is a quiz to test your knowledge of water use in your home and suggestions to conserve water.  Good luck--answers are below!

Happy belated Mother’s Day!  Give your Mom a hug—water used = 0!

1. The average family of four uses approximately __ gallons of water per day?

A. 50
B. 100
C. 250
D. 400

2. How much water can you save per day by turning off the tap while brushing your teeth in the morning and at bedtime?

A. Up to 2 gallons
B. Up to 4 gallons
C. Up to 8 gallons
D. Up to 6 gallons

3. Which of the following uses less water?

A. Taking a five minute shower
B. Taking a bath

4. In the average household, which of the following wastes the MOST water per day?

A. Running the tap while washing dishes
B. Using a garbage disposal
C. A leaky toilet
D. Long showers

5. How much water is saved per flush with a high-efficiency toilet?

A. 0.6 to 1.9 gallons
B. 2.2 to 5.7 gallons
C. More than 6 gallons

6. Which of the following uses less water?

A. Washing dishes under a running tap
B. Washing dishes in a fully loaded automatic dishwasher without pre-rinsing

7. High-efficiency washing machines save about how much water per load compared to traditional models?

A. 2-5 gallons
B. 7-10 gallons
C. 11-13 gallons
D. 14 gallons or more

8. Easily corrected household water leaks account for what percentage of the average water bill?

A. 2%
B. 4%
C. 6%
D. 8%

Answer Key

1. D
It may seem hard to believe, but the average person uses 100 gallons of water each day—that's enough to fill 1,600 drinking glasses. This water use can easily be cut by as much as 30 percent if American households took a few simple steps to use water more efficiently.
2. C
The average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of 2 gallons per minute; by simply turning the tap off, you can save more than 100 gallons of water per person each month.
3. A
Taking a five minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons of water, while a full tub requires about 70 gallons. If you take a bath, stopper the drain immediately and adjust the temperature as you fill the tub.
4. C
A leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water every day! To tell if your toilet is leaking, place a drop of food coloring in the tank; if the color shows in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak.
5. B
If your toilet is from 1992 or earlier, you probably have an inefficient model that uses between 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush. New high-efficiency models use less than 1.3 gallons per flush—that's 60 to 80 percent less water than their less efficient counterparts.
6. B
To waste the least amount of water in the kitchen, operate your automatic dishwasher only when it's fully loaded. Filling the sink or a bowl instead of running water can save an average of 25 gallons.
7. D
High-efficiency washing machines use less than 27 gallons of water per load, compared to traditional models that use an average of 41 gallons. To achieve even greater savings, adjust water levels in the washing machine to match the size of the load.
8. D
Leaky faucets that drip at the rate of one drip per second can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water each year. If you're unsure if you have a leak, read 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.

Quiz was taken from WaterSense, a US EPA Partnership Program