communityaction

h2ologo2

 

For most of us, where we live is where we consume the most water. To care for our basic living needs, we each use about 80-100 gallons of water each day. Because many of us pay for our water, cutting down on our usage not only saves the resource, it saves us money.

Saving, one drip at a time
Countless resources—from products to simple ideas—can help you use less water. Does your toilet leak? A simple dye test can perhaps save up to 1,000 gallons a month. If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model. More than 100 ways to save water are found on the Water Use it Wisely web site. The Daily Green adds to that list.

80 trillion gallons are below ground
If you are like millions of Pennsylvanians, you get your water from a well. Where does that water come from? How do you know it’s safe? This fact sheet helps you understand best practices of well construction, what to look for in a professional construction, how to test your water and develop well-site protection areas and more. Of course, if you get your water from a well, then it is best to understand the basics of groundwater.

Backyard plantings
Our at-home water usage isn't limited to low-flow faucets and fixing leaks inside the home. How we manage and protect water in our yards is equally important. One of the easiest ways is to plant species that are native to your area. These native plants generally require less care and maintenance, which could cut down on watering and fertilizers. Check out our native plant database and native garden templates to get you started. Planting trees in your yard will also help to absorb rainwater, and the shade from the trees will cut back on your need to water your lawns and flowers.

If you have areas of your yard that consistently collect water or routinely erode after storms, consider planting a rain garden. These technically constructed gardens use certain plants and soils to help slow runoff and aid in absorption. Plus, they beautify your yard! The Three Rivers Rain Garden Alliance is an excellent place to learn more, or check out this video and fact sheet detailing the construction and benefits of rain gardens.

 

Protecting water supplies
It goes without saying that the water that lands on your property, doesn’t stay there. You don’t own it, nor can you contain it. It becomes your neighbors’ water, the next community over’s water, the surrounding states’ water. Therefore, you should care about what washes off our property. Careful applications of fertilizers and insecticides will help keep the poisons out of our drinking water supplies and waterways. Helping control the flow of water off your roofs through rain barrels and rain gardens will direct the water into the ground, ensuring proper filtration, rather than running down the streets.

If you are in the Pittsburgh region, Stormworks offers rain barrel and rain garden consultation and products. Pennsylvania-based Spruce Creek Rainsaver sells rain barrels, as do many home improvement stores and garden centers. County Conservation districts often offer workshops and advice on rain barrel construction.

 

DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry, through the Forestry For the Bay program, works with forest land owners who are interested in long-term strategies to protect and conserve their woodlands, for the ultimate protection of our watersheds, such as the Chesapeake Bay.

 

Weather watching
Is the weather forecast your favorite part of a nightly newscast? Do you closely monitor your back yard rain gauge? If so, the Community Collaborative Rain Snow and Hail Network wants to get to know you.

CoCoRaHS is a grassroots volunteer network of backyard weather observers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow) in their local communities.

 

If you’d rather be paddling, then daily stream flow conditions might be what you should check out before you head out the door. If you just like data in general, USGS’s water data website might keep you happy for a while.