Wednesday, October 31, 2018

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Have a Green Halloween!}

Happy Halloween, friends!

Whether you’re going to a costume party or staying at home watching scary movies, here are 5 tricks to make this Halloween a treat for the Earth.

1) Use the whole pumpkin. Jack-o-Lanterns are a favorite part of many people’s Halloween.  By buying from a local pumpkin patch, you are reducing the amount of time and effort it takes to transport the pumpkin to the store. That saves water!  Try roasting the seeds for a salty snack or using the innards to make pumpkin pie. And once Halloween is all over, you can put your pumpkin in the compost.

2) Instead of regular candy, hand out treasures!  Treasures can be little trinkets like seed packets or items made from recycled materials that will last longer than one night and can help reduce packaging waste. Can’t give up your sweet tooth? Instead of buying your Halloween candy at a store, buy it from a group that is raising money to support an amazing cause.

3) DIY your Halloween decorations! Frannie has shown you in previous blogs some ways to make cool Halloween decorations out of materials you can easily find in your house. Even better, you can recycle or reuse them after you’re done!

4) Help your candy wrappers rise from the dead! If you’re really crafty, you can take your used candy wrappers and make cute barrettes, hair bows, and broaches. For a simpler option, send your candy wrappers to Terracycle’s Candy Wrapper Zero Waste Box. There, candy wrappers are repurposed and used to make notebooks, tote bags, and much more.

5) Costume-swap with your friends! Did you know that it takes 713 gallons of water to make a single cotton t-shirt? Many Halloween costumes are made up of multiple pieces and most costumes will only be worn once and then thrown away. Save water (and time and money shopping for costumes) this year by swapping costumes with your friends or jazz up last year’s costume with some new accessories!

Have a Green Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

BLOG: Groundwater Has Its Own Voice

by Jane Griffin, The Groundwater Foundation

At the Groundwater Foundation, we always say that we are the voice of groundwater. Little did we know - groundwater has its own voice! Most of us don’t ever hear it, because most of us do not spend time thousands of feet under the earth’s surface.

I was recently driving home from a tennis tournament, listening to a program on the radio and I heard the sound of groundwater, thousands of feet below the earth’s surface. I could hardly believe it! It was fascinating, especially because I never expected to hear the sound of groundwater!

If you want to hear the sound of groundwater, and a very interesting story about Elements, then tune into this podcast (the story begins about about 56:15).  Enjoy listening and envisioning the magic of groundwater as it moves through the water cycle, thousands of feet below the earth’s surface!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Top 5 Reasons to Carry a Reusable Water Bottle}

Frannie knows how important it is to drink plenty of water throughout the day, but she also knows that using a reusable water bottle is better for the environment and our health than purchasing bottled water! For this Water-Wise Wednesday, Frannie is going to go through her top 5 reasons for using a reusable water bottle.

Top 5 Reasons for using a reusable water bottle:

1. It's EASY to use! Most places you go have water fountains where you can fill up your water bottle. And if you don't want to drink water? You can still ask your server, cashier, or barista to fill up your reusable bottle with coffee, pop, tea, or one of your other favorite beverages!

2.  It is healthier to use bottles that are free from chemicals like bisphenol A, often referred to as BPA. BPA is an industrial chemical that can have possible negative health effects on your brain.  Plastics marked with recycle codes 3 and 7 may be made with BPA. Almost all reusable water bottles are BPA-free.

3. Getting water from the tap is cheaper than buying bottled water.  Bottled water can cost up to 500 times more than tap water!

4. It saves water! Making new plastic bottles takes a LOT of water.  In fact, it takes more water to produce one plastic bottle than the water put into the bottle for drinking!

5. It's better for the environment.  Using reusable water bottles is better for the environment because it reduces your carbon footprint.  Producing new, disposable water bottles uses many fossil fuels and releases toxins into the air during production.

Frannie also likes to make her tap water yummier! Sometimes she will let her water bottle chill in the fridge so it’s nice and cold.  It saves water since you don’t have to run the tap and wait for the water to get cold!

She also likes to add fruits or veggies to her water to give it a little extra taste.  One of Frannie’s favorite summer drinks is chilled water with cucumber slices.  It’s a healthy refreshing drink to treat your brain to after taking those hard midterm exams!

Where do you take your water bottle? What's your favorite drink to put inside it?  Share with us by email or by tagging us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

BLOG: Earth Science Week and Groundwater

by Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

October 14-20 is Earth Science Week. Organized by the American Geosciences Institute annually, the week helps the public better understand and appreciate Earth sciences and encourages stewardship of the earth.

Groundwater should be an important component and focus of the Earth sciences, and learning about it can be a fun way to celebrate Earth Science Week. Here are a few fun activities to help you discover more about groundwater and how it fits with Earth science.

1. "See" groundwater with an Awesome Aquifer Kit.
Build your own working aquifer model and "see" groundwater. The kit includes six advanced groundwater demonstrations - groundwater terminology, its role in the water cycle, the makeup of an aquifer, contamination, and clean up.

2. Growing with Groundwater.
Create a mini terrarium that demonstrates the different phases of the water cycle, and learn about the four basic elements needed for plant, animal, and human survival (soil, water, sunlight, air).

3. Aquifer in a Cup
Create a mini aquifer model with just some gravel and/or sand, a clear cup, and water. Learn cool groundwater terminology - water table, saturated zone, unsaturated zone.

4. Water Cycle Bangles
Water is constantly moving around, through and above the earth as a gas (water vapor), a liquid, and
as a solid (ice). This never ending process is called the hydrologic cycle. Make a bracelet and learn how water moves.

5. There's No New Water
Learn how much water is on the planet and where it's stored. You may be surprised to learn that groundwater and fresh water make up a very small percentage of the Earth's total water supply!

Want to find more hands-on activities? Check out of online activity library and search by age, topic, duration, and more. Earth Science Week also has an online toolkit with a variety of resources - posters, data, lab activities, and other science-focused tools.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

BLOG: Imagine a Day Without Water

It can be easy to forget that some issues we all care about cut across political and geographic lines. Constituents may have different opinions on health care and tax reform, but when it comes to our daily lives, voters have a lot in common. They get up in the morning and brush their teeth, use the bathroom, and make coffee. They shower, do their laundry, and wash the dishes. But none of which would be possible without safe and reliable water infrastructure.

If you’ve never experienced it before, it’s hard to imagine a day without water. Most citizens recognize that water is essential to our quality of life. In fact, the vast majority of Americans, across parties and regions, want the government to invest in our water infrastructure. The data shows 88 percent of Americans support increasing federal investment to rebuild water infrastructure, and 75 percent of Americans want Congress to be proactive and invest in our nation’s water infrastructure before our systems fail.

Renewed investment in our water infrastructure isn't only about avoiding a day without water for personal use. A day without water would mean havoc for businesses and our economy too. Basically, every business is a water reliant business in one way or another.

According to the Value of Water Campaign’s report on The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure, a one-day disruption in water services at a national level would result in a $43.5 billion daily sales loss to businesses.

Unfortunately, investment in water infrastructure has not been a priority for decades. Federal investment has declined precipitously, leaving states, localities, water utilities, and people who pay water bills to make up the difference. Meanwhile, our systems are crumbling. The US government is currently funding $82 billion less than what is needed to maintain our water infrastructure, putting our health, safety, economy, and environment at risk.

So, what can we do about it?

October 10 is Imagine a Day Without Water, a national day of action to raise awareness about the value of water. We have the opportunity to leverage our collective power, educate our decision makers, and inspire our communities to put water infrastructure on the agenda.

No matter what the cause, a day without water is a public health and environmental crisis. That’s why groups across the country ask people to Imagine a Day Without Water to educate our communities on the value of water. No community can thrive without water, and every American deserves a safe, reliable, accessible water services. Let's invest in our water systems now, so no American ever has to imagine a day – or live a day – without water again.

Friday, October 5, 2018

BLOG: Protect and Prepare Your Well for Flooding

Heavy rainfall events are becoming more and more common, triggering devastating flooding. Hurricanes and strong thunderstorms have dumped massive amounts of rain on many parts of the U.S. recently, and experts fear it's getting worse.

If you're a well owner, you need to be prepared to deal with keeping your well safe before, during, and after flood and storm events.

1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
When a storm is imminent, take some time to protect your wellhead and pump if they're exposed to the elements. Covering or securing them can help protect them from any flying debris. If you don't have a surge suppressor on your pump, now is a good time to add one. Power surges during and after storms can damage a well's electrical components. Also, it's a good idea to fill your tub and sinks with water before the storm - if you lose power this water can be used to wash hands and flush toilets - as well as stock up on bottled water for drinking.

2. Ride Out the Storm
If your well loses power during the storm, make sure you turn off the pump at the circuit breaker and leave it off through the duration of the storm. Power outages can result in spikes/surges which can damage the well's components. Stay away from the well during the storm to avoid electrical shock.

3. After the Rain
If you didn't have any flooding, examine your well equipment for damage. If you see any damage, contact a professional before you attempt to turn on or operate the pump.

If your property has flooding, you'll want to be extra cautious. Do not turn on the power! Don't go near it for your safety and to avoid electrical shock. Wait until the water has receded before you approach the well. Don't drink the water or use it for cooking or washing - use an alternative source like bottled water. Get in touch with a qualified water well contractor or pump installer to get your well up and going.

Adapted from's Hurricane/Flooding Resources

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {The Secret Ways You Use Water}

We all know that water has a very important role in our lives. We use it to drink, to cook our food, to bathe and brush our teeth, and to water our plants or pets.  But water affects our lives in so many other ways we might not think about.  Check out these 5 unique ways that you use water!

1. Heating and Cooling. Many homes and businesses are using something called “geothermal energy” to heat and cool their buildings.  “Geo” means “from the earth” and “thermal” means heat so this type of energy uses the heat from the under the ground to regulate the temperature of a particular system.  Buildings that use this system pump a liquid, often groundwater, through a series of pipes and devices like “heat exchangers” to use the natural heat from the earth to warm up the air inside. During hot summers, a geothermal system can also cool down the air by working in reverse, absorbing the heat from inside and moving it back down into the earth.  This very efficient system costs less than other modern systems and almost none of the energy is wasted.

2. Electricity. 
Hydroelectric power is a clean, renewable, and reliable form of energy that converts the energy of falling water into electricity.  Do you know about the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas, Nevada? It’s one of the nation’s largest hydropower facilities, with each wing of the plant rising nearly 20 stories for a length of 650 feet (almost 2 football fields). With 17 main turbines, the average annual generation is about 4.2 billion kilowatt-hours. That’s over 3.1 billion horsepower and enough energy to serve 1.3 million people, all by using the water!

3. Wearing Clothes. Did you know that 2.6% of the water used globally is for cotton consumption?  That cotton t-shirt that you’re wearing required a lot of water to go from growing in a field to being hung in your closet. And that’s not even taking into consideration the amount of water it takes to dye your shirt, or any other articles of your clothing, into the fun colors you like to wear.

4. Reading, writing, and printing. Did you know that in the US, we use about 69 million tons of paper and paperboard (like boxes and folders) each year? In the process of just making the paper, water is used to grow the trees, maintain the tools that are used to cut the trees, turn the trees into a pulp, and maintain the machines that turn the pulp into paper?  And that’s just to make blank paper. Water is also used to make the ink to print 2 billion books yearly or put fun cover photos on 350 million magazines.  It takes roughly 1,160 gallons of water to make a single pound of paper and that’s a lot of paper.

5. Using a computer. If you think using email, the internet, and, in general, going paperless is the perfect solution: think again. The water it takes to make a single laptop is about the same as washing 70 loads of laundry. A desktop? 1,500 gallons!  Every kind of computer and IT product demands vast quantities of “ultra-pure water”, a kind of water that highly distilled from even larger quantities of “regular” water.

So? How many did you know? If you can think of other ways that water secretly helps our lives, share them with us at