In this section, you’ll find information, tips, and suggestions on ways you can protect and conserve groundwater in and around your home.
- Go Native – Use native plants in your landscape. They look great, and don’t need much water or fertilizer. Also choose grass varieties for your lawn that are adapted for your region’s climate, reducing the need for extensive watering or chemical applications.
- Reduce Chemical Use – Use fewer chemicals around your home and yard, and make sure to dispose of them properly – don’t dump them on the ground!
- Manage Waste – Properly dispose of potentially toxic substances like unused chemicals, pharmaceuticals, paint, motor oil, and other substances. Many communities hold household hazardous waste collections or sites – contact your local health department to find one near you.
- Don’t Let It Run – Shut off the water when you brush your teeth or shaving, and don’t let it run while waiting for it to get cold. Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge instead.
- Fix the Drip – Check all the faucets, fixtures, toilets, and taps in your home for leaks and fix them right away, or install water conserving models.
- Wash Smarter – Limit yourself to just a five minute shower, and challenge your family members to do the same! Also, make sure to only run full loads in the dish and clothes washer.
- Water Wisely – Water the lawn and plants during the coolest parts of the day and only when they truly need it. Make sure you, your family, and your neighbors obey any watering restrictions during dry periods.
- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – Reduce the amount of “stuff” you use and reuse what you can. Recycle paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, aluminum and other materials.
- Natural Alternatives – Use all natural/nontoxic household cleaners whenever possible. Materials such as lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar make great cleaning products, are inexpensive, and are environmentally friendly.
- Learn and Do More! – Get involved in water education! Learn more about groundwater and share your knowledge with others.
- Don’t Let It Run – It’s simple really, before you turn on the tap, think of ways you can use less water to accomplish the same purpose. Always shut off the water when you brush your teeth, fill the sink when shaving instead of letting the water run, keep a pitcher of water in the fridge instead of running it til it gets cold.
- Fix the Leak – There is no such thing as a little drip. A leaky faucet can waste 10 gallons of water every day. On a toilet, an average leak can add up to 60 gallons per day! Replace worn sink washers or valve seals to get rid of the drip, and check for leaks in a toilet’s tank or replace old toilets with low-flush units.
- Close the Hose – Letting the garden hose run faster or longer than necessary is a careless and wasteful habit. A ½ inch garden hose under normal water pressure pours out more than 600 gallons of water per hour and a ¾ inch hose delivers almost 1,900 gallons in the same length of time.
- Irrigate Wisely – Watch the weather and irrigate only during the cooler parts of the day (early morning or late evening). If you walk across your lawn and the grass does not spring back up, then it’s time to water. Check with your local extension agent or garden center for recommendations for your area’s climate.
- Check the Plumbing – Proper maintenance is one of the most effective water savers. Faucet washers are inexpensive and take only a few minutes to replace. At home, check all water taps, hoses, and hose connections (even those that connect to dishwashers and washing machines) for leaks. Check the garden hose, too—it should be turned off at the faucet, not just the nozzle.
- 5-Minute Shower Challenge – A quick shower uses 20-30 fewer gallons of water than a bath. Challenge yourself to take just showers of just 5 minutes or less, then challenge your family members to do the same. Use a shower timer to help keep the time down. Use the 30by30 Mobile App to track all of your daily water use.
- Teach Your Community – As you conserve water at home and in your community, you will help ensure that the water available now continues to meet the growing water needs of the future.
- Get Started Conserving Water Today! – Take little steps each day to reduce the water you use, by the end of the month, it will become second nature.
Start the week off fresh by filling a pitcher with tap water and storing it in your refrigerator. Not only will you have a cool, refreshing beverage at your fingertips, you’ll also save water by not waiting for the tap to run cold each time you and your family members are thirsty.
Water outside only when necessary. If you know Mother Nature plans to water the garden, you won’t have to. It is also a good idea to water early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid evaporation during the warmest part of the day.
Don’t let the faucet run. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. You’ll save about 100 gallons of water per month once this habit becomes second nature. Does anyone else in your family leave the faucet on when they brush their teeth, shave, etc.?
There is no such thing as a little drip. A leaky faucet with a drip of just 1/16 of an inch in diameter can waste 10 gallons of water every day! Stop that drip by replacing worn washers and valve seals.
Take a shorter shower today. Set a timer for five minutes and get out when it rings. It is also a good idea to install a low-flow shower head. Water savings can really add up when you control the flow–you could save about 450 gallons each month!
Check all the plumbing in your home. Proper maintenance is one of the most effective water savers. Faucet washers are inexpensive and take only a few minutes and a wrench to replace. Check all water taps, hoses and hose connections for leaks.
Be aware of how you use water today by keeping a journal. Write down each time you turn on the tap, how long it was on, and what you used that water for. Keeping track of the water you used will make you more aware and teach you to make every drop count.
Adapted from “Be Water Wise: 7 Ways in 7 Days” by the American Water Works Association
Suggestions for going green in every room throughout your home, including easy ways to conserve water and energy and save money.
Tips on how to maintain your lawn, plants and trees, care for your soil, and use proper irrigation techniques to make your landscape thrive.
Bill Bieck of Heritage Hills Golf Course in McCook, NE talks about ongoing water conservation and protection efforts on the golf course.
LuAnn Finke of Finke Gardens in Lincoln, NE talks about using native plants in your landscape, along with opportunities for sustainability and water conservation.
Other Things You Can Do
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A rain garden is a garden of native shrubs, perennials, and flowers planted in a small depression, which is generally formed on a natural slope. It is designed to temporarily hold and soak in rain water runoff that flows from roofs, driveways, patios or lawns. Rain gardens are effective in removing up to 90% of nutrients and chemicals and up to 80% of sediments from the rainwater runoff. Compared to a conventional lawn, rain gardens allow for 30% more water to soak into the ground.
A rain garden is not a water garden. Nor is it a pond or a wetland. Conversely, a rain garden is dry most of the time. It typically holds water only during and following a rainfall event. Because rain gardens will drain within 12-48 hours, they prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.