Water is easily taken for granted, especially in areas of the world where access to clean water is as simple as turning on a faucet. However, the World Health Organization reports that nearly 800 million people across the globe lack a basic water-drinking service.
Access is not the only way water can be taken for granted. Clean water also is a given in many parts of the world, even though keeping water clean requires constant effort. Individuals can do their part to maintain safe local water supplies by heeding these tips.
Choose water-friendly cleaning products. Consumers’ choice of cleaning products have an effect on water supplies. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, some household cleaners contain hazardous or toxic substances that can contaminate ground or surface waters. Common sense suggests all-natural cleaning products would not contain toxic substances, but packaging can be misleading. For example, various products are purported to be “eco-friendly” or “green,” but that doesn’t mean they are. “Greenwashing” is a practice employed by manufacturers that’s designed to give consumers the impression a product is non-toxic and eco-friendly, even though that’s not necessarily the case. So what can consumers do? Look for products with third party certifications from organizations like the EPA and Green Seal. Products with these third party certification labels indicate they’ve been vetted and approved by independent organizations.
Avoid flushing expired medications down the toilet. Few people give a second thought to flushing unused medications down the toilet. However, various organizations urge individuals to contact their local governments about drug take-back events. The EPA notes that one of the risks associated with flushing old medicines down the toilet is that they can ultimately end up in streams and rivers when disposed of in this fashion. That contaminates local water supplies and poses a threat to local wildlife.
Pick up after pets (and local wildlife, if necessary). No one wants a yard full of pet waste, but the threat of animal feces is more serious than some people may realize. Pet feces and excrement from local wildlife should be picked up immediately or, in the case of wild animals, the moment homeowners notice it. That’s because pet waste is a contaminant that can carry bacteria into storm drains and adversely affect local water supplies.
Plant native species. Water scarcity may not affect developed nations on a daily basis, but it’s not as foreign an issue as people may think. During periods of drought, which have increased significantly in many areas over the last 20 years, water restrictions can affect the health of plants around a property. Native species are adapted to withstand local weather, including periods of drought if that’s common to a given area. That means they won’t need as much water when conditions become dry.
Though it’s easy to take water for granted, it’s even easier to take steps to protect and conserve local water supplies.