April 

 Water Conservation Month 

Water is a necessity. We need water for hydration but we also need water to keep the natural world balanced. Without oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, etc. the natural world would collapse. So how can we preserve the water we use everyday? Gallons of water are wasted everyday. Taking a shower just five more minutes longer wastes 12.5 gallons of water. As a society we need to learn how to use just enough water, and be more environmentally conscious of our daily habits when using water.

 WEEK 1: 

Every minute the shower is on wastes 2.5 gallons of water. Some showers take a long time to warm up, so how can you preserve the water that's going down the drain? Remember in our second challenge we got plants to put in our homes? Now is the perfect time to water them! While the water is warming up place a watering can underneath to catch the water and after your shower you can water your plants. This will help you remember to water your plants and conserve water.

 WEEK 2: 

You can conserve so much water in your home, this week lets keep on working on conserving water that you use everyday! 

  • When brushing your teeth, turn off the water while you are brushing, this will conserve 4 gallons of water every time you brush your teeth WITHOUT the sink water running down the drain

  • Put a sticky note, picture, or sticker that will remind you to turn off the water by your sink when brushing your teeth, this way you can be certain to do it!

  • When washing your face you can save so much water by turning on the water only when you need it. You can use these tips when using sink water in any situation. Putting dishes in the dishwasher? Turn off the water when you are done rinsing the dish. Filling up a watering can or water pitcher? Don't walk away and leave it to overflow, make sure to watch it!

 WEEK 3: 

Now that you know how to do this in your own home, educate others! Here are some fun facts about water conservation to post on social media to spread the awareness:

  • The average American uses 140-170 gallons of water per day

  • If every household in America had a faucet that dripped once each second, 928 million gallons of water a day would leak away

  • A leaky faucet can waste 100 gallons a day

  • One flush of the toilet uses 3 ½ gallons of water (on average).

  • An average bath requires 37 gallons of water.

  • An average family of four uses 881 gallons of water per week just by flushing the toilet

  • The average 5-minute shower takes 15-25 gallons of water--around 40 gallons are used in 10 minutes.

  • An automatic dishwasher uses 9 to 12 gallons of water while hand washing dishes can use up to 20 gallons.

  • 300 million gallons of water are needed to produce a single day's supply of U.S. newsprint.

  • IMPORTANT FUN FACT: You can conserve all this water by practicing more eco-friendly habits that we have provided!

  • Learn more fun facts about water conservation here: Water Conservation Facts & Water Consumption Facts | Think H2O (thinkh2onow.com)

 WEEK 4: 

If you have a garden or a yard to take care of there are ways you can conserve water outside according to the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency):

  • Maximize the use of natural vegetation and establish smaller lawns. For portions of your lot where a lawn and landscaping are desired, ask your local nursery for tips about plants and grasses with low water demand (such as creeping fescue). Consider planting more trees, shrubs, ground covers, and less grass. Shrubs and ground covers provide greenery for much of the year and usually demand less water. Use native plants in flower beds. Native plants have adapted to rainfall conditions in New England and often provide good wildlife habitat. Cluster plants that require extra care together to minimize time and save water.

  • When mowing your lawn, set the mower blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil improving moisture retention, has more leaf surface to take in sunlight, allowing it to grow thicker and develop a deeper root system. This helps grass survive drought, tolerate insect damage and fend off disease.

  • Only water the lawn when necessary. If you water your lawn and garden, only do it once a week, if rainfall isn't sufficient. Avoid watering on windy and hot days. Water the lawn and garden in the morning or late in the evening to maximize the amount of water which reaches the plant roots (otherwise most of the water will evaporate). Use soaker hoses to water gardens and flower beds. If sprinklers are used, take care to be sure they don't water walkways and buildings. When you water, put down no more than 1 inch (set out a empty cans to determine how long it takes to water 1 inch) each week. This watering pattern will encourage more healthy, deep grass roots. Over-watering is wasteful, encourages fungal growth and disease, and results in the growth of shallow, compacted root systems that are more susceptible to drought and foot traffic. If an automatic lawn irrigation system is used, be sure it has been properly installed, is programmed to deliver the appropriate amount and rate of water, and has rain shut-off capability.

  • Apply mulch around shrubs and flower beds to reduce evaporation, promote plant growth and control weeds.

  • Add compost or an organic matter to soil as necessary, to improve soil conditions and water retention.

  • Collect rainfall for irrigation in a screened container (to prevent mosquito larvae growth).

  • When washing a car, wet it quickly, then use a bucket of water to wash the car. Turn on the hose to final rinse (or let mother nature wash your car when it rains).

  • Always use a broom to clean walkways, driveways, decks and porches, rather than hosing off these areas.

All information on this week was provided by this source: Water Conservation Tips for Residents | Drinking Water in New England | US EPA

 Tag us in your posts @dearearthteam when participating in the challenges!