Happy New Year!
Whether you do it for yourself or for your kids, for now or for the future, for your health or the environment, taking care of our water resources is an important responsibility that we all should share. So why not make a resolution to be more River-Friendly this year? Here are some tips and ideas to protect water resources and, in some cases, save money! Visit http://www.raritanbasin.org/Projects/riverfriendly/resident_tech_materials.html for more information on these topics.
· Landscape with native plants to help reduce your yard’s water needs.
o Native plants evolved in the region in which they are found, so they are adapted to the local weather, soil and geology. Native plants typically require less maintenance and less irrigation than non-natives and are generally more resistant to pests and diseases. By using natives, you can reduce your need for irrigation, pesticides and herbicides.
· Use a soil test to guide your fertilizer use.
o Tests will tell you exactly how much nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, lime, sulfur or other nutrients to add to your soil. Too much nitrogen and phosphorus can cause harm to lakes, rivers and drinking water. Other excess nutrients can weaken and even kill your plants and grass.
· Use less pesticides and fertilizers.
o Only use pesticides and fertilizers when you need them. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus can be carried by the rain to lakes and streams. Too much nitrogen or phosphorus in the water can cause a reduction in oxygen which is harmful to small children and young animals that drink it. It can also cause an overgrowth of aquatic plants and algae leading to clogged water intakes and fish kills.
· Conserve Water!
o The U.S. population is growing and with it, the demand on our water resources. At least 36 states faced water shortages through 2013, making water conservation a very important issue. Save money on your water bill by conserving water whenever you can and become a part of the solution instead of the problem.
§ Repair leaky faucets and toilets right away. Save up to 50 gallons of water a day!
§ Install a water saving showerhead. Save up to 20 gallons per person per day!
§ Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth. Save 3-5 gallons each time you brush your teeth.
· Collect water in rain barrels and use it later to water your garden.
o Rain Barrels are a great way to conserve water for your non-drinking needs as well as to slow down stormwater, preventing it from picking up pollutants and eroding stream banks.
· Clean up after your pets.
o Not scooping your dog poop can lead to high levels of fecal coliform in lakes and streams as it is picked up from where you left it and carried by stormwater.
· Dispose of household cleaners, paints and other chemicals safely, such as at a household hazardous waste day.
· Replace one household chemical with an environmentally friendly alternative.
o Keep toxic chemicals from the water by using products with natural ingredients.
· Get involved in a local watershed organization.
o Participate in a stream clean-up or other activities.
· Plant a tree!
o Trees are important for many reasons, not only do they provide oxygen for us to breathe, but they can protect our water by slowing down stormwater runoff and filtering pollutants.
The New Jersey Water Supply Authority wishes you a wonderful year and we thank you for any steps that you might take towards cleaner, healthier water. It is all of us together that will make a difference!