CHANGE is hard, but it is possible through EDUCATION.
When children understand the importance of an issue they embrace improving the world and take that message home to their families. The Environmental Protection Agency has materials available for educators available on their website.
Educational materials are also available through the US Geological Survey.
Information sheets have been developed on a variety of education topics.
There are things you can do every season to help conserve water.
Spring showers bring... lawn maintenance
Protecting and conserving our water supply is a priority of all water resource managers, municipal leaders, and—we hope!—residents of northeastern Illinois. What is one of the most efficient ways to address water conservation? Look at your lawn.
Landscape and lawn watering is one of the leading uses of water in our region, accounting for more than 30 percent of all residential water use. Additionally, as much as 50 percent of all water used outdoors is wasted due to inefficient watering methods and systems. Lawns only need about an inch of water a week, which can be accomplished in 2 hours or even less if it rains. (Watering time will vary based on sprinkler type and water pressure, but 20-30 minutes three times per week is common.)
WE CAN HELP!
Check your hose and sprinkler system to make sure they don’t leak.
Avoid watering during the warmest part of the day by sticking to early morning and later in the evening.
If you use an automated sprinkler system, make sure it is set up correctly (watering early in the morning or late in the evening) and functioning properly (fix those leaks!).
Put down mulch in landscaped areas of your property to prevent evaporation.
Use native prairie plants, which have a deep root system and can thrive in our region with very little watering required.
Consider planting turf grass only in areas where people will use it for recreation.
Install a rain barrel to catch water while it’s raining and use that water to irrigate your plants. (This also results in less demand on stormwater infrastructure during storms and has a positive impact on water quality in local rivers and streams!)
Join Joliet throughout the month of April in the National Wyland Mayor’s Challenge for Conservation. Sign-up at any time to start saving water and be eligible to win prizes for yourself and your city. Click here to learn more. MyWaterPledge.com
While our region’s water assets are considerable, they are also limited. By using simple water conservation measures at home, you can help ensure future generations have enough water while saving money for yourself right now. Water conservation can include hardware changes like fixing leaky pipes and faucets and simple behavioral changes like turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth.
Here are some small ways you can make a big difference:
Toilets: A single resident uses about 18.5 gallons of water PER DAY just by using the toilet. This represents the #1 indoor use of water. Many alternatives exist, including low-flow toilets, which use less water per flush, and dual-flush toilets, which use even less water. When shopping for new toilets, look for the U.S. EPA "WaterSense" labels. These have been tested to meet high efficiency standards.
Lawns: Generally, about one-third of residential water is used outdoors for lawns and gardens, and small changes can have a big impact. Change your watering patterns so that lawns get watered early in the morning or late in the evening. Or remove the lawn entirely! Native plants have evolved to thrive in northeastern Illinois, and their long root systems mean they are more resilient in drier summer months and even periods of drought. There are many types of native plants that will look beautiful on your property, some of which will attract butterflies and birds. The Conservation Foundation's Conservation@Home program has many great resources.
Leaks: Leaky toilets, faucets, and valves can result in upwards of 10,000 gallons of wasted water a year. Though there is a cost to repair these leaks, it will save you more in the long run.
Check out this video for more information on how water conservation is connected to water rates: Replace Your Leaky Toilet Flapper - WaterSense Bath Hack #3
What does my water bill pay for?
Turn on the faucet. Water comes out. Easy, right? Yes! … Well, everything except the “easy” part. A complex system of pipes, plants and people are involved in collecting, filtering, treating, and storing the water before it is delivered to you, the consumer. Fresh, clean drinking water delivered straight to your tap is something you probably take for granted, but it has a price associated with it. Since most of this takes place underground, though, it is very literally out of sight and out of mind for most people.
Let's take a closer look at what's involved: The water is first extracted and pumped from the source. Next, it is treated, filtered and disinfected so it is safe for residential and commercial use. The water is then pumped through miles of underground pipes, transported through the distribution system straight to your home or business. There is a big cost in maintaining and repairing these systems, including the personnel and electricity required to run them. Finally, wastewater is collected and cleaned at a treatment plant, so it is safe to return to nature.
For more information, check out this video from the Alliance for Water Efficiency on how fresh, clean water is delivered to your tap: Water: What You Pay For
Join us in October for the National Education Campaign – Imagine A Day Without Water. Click here to learn more about this campaign.
Winterize your home
Broken pipes are inconvenient, expensive, and preventable problems. Don’t be caught off guard by winter weather. Prepare your home now with these simple steps:
Protect pipes in the unheated areas of your home—garages, attics, basements and crawl spaces—by covering them with pipe insulation, readily available at any hardware store and easy to install for even a novice DIYer.
Locate and test your home’s main water shutoff valve so you can cut the flow as soon as you discover a burst pipe. The valve is often located in basements, garages or somewhere outside close to the foundation.
Disconnect and store garden hoses to prevent outdoor spigots from freezing. You can also consider installing a “frost-free” spigot or having a plumber install a shutoff valve inside your home.
If your pipes freeze, shut off the main valve and thaw pipes by placing a rag over the pipes and pouring hot water over them. Never use open flame to thaw frozen pipes. If your pipes burst, turn off the main water shutoff valve and call a plumber.