Water is essential to life.  We drink it and use it for bathing, swimming and cleaning.  We also waste it.  Previous generations had to more with less, including water.  I remember taking Florida showers in my grandparents’ house – gt wet, shut off the water, lather up , turn on the water, rinse off and get out!  We may not need to conserve at that level right now, but conservation practices are not difficult to implement.  We can reduce water use, utilize rain harvest practices and further  protect resources by eliminating use of chemicals, that eventually  filter into our waterways.

Water waste is often due to landscape irrigation.  Excess runoff, leaking pipes, and inefficient watering schedules are to blame.  Planting native plants species can minimize the need for additional water.  In addition, utilizing gutters and gray water is a sustainable way to water when needed.

Rainwater harvesting can be as simple as barrels at the end of the downspout (with an overflow pipe 8” or more from the house) or as intricate as cisterns with pumps and piping.  Another option is to attach perforated piping to the end of the downspouts that will leach water around the planting beds.  These choices utilize water on your property, reduce erosion, and help protect the foundation from decay.

Chemical applications applied to trees, shrubs, and lawns eventually was down into our sewers, steams and rivers.  This is highly visible in ponds where algae grow exponentially due to too many nutrients and a lack of oxygen.  These pollutants kill fish, increase mosquito activity, and damage the ecosystem.  Reduce chemical dependency with companion plantings, use dish soap and water spray to eliminate aphids (vegetable oil and garlic can be added for more strength). And use native plants that are less susceptible to disease.