Think Green

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How to conserve and protect water

Water is so abundant that it's easily taken for granted. According to the United States Geological Survey, about 71 percent of the planet's surface is covered by water, roughly 97 percent of which is in the world's oceans. Water below the surface of the ground is critical to life, creating viable habitats that help plants and animals thrive.

Although water is plentiful, some areas have an abundance of water while others do not. As a result, people need to work collectively to protect the world's water and ensure a healthy planet for centuries to come.

Conserve

Conserving water is important, as a substantial amount of resources are needed to transport, pump, procure, treat, and store water for public use. Energy is also expended to treat sewage. By conserving water, we conserve energy. The following are a few ways to conserve water.

* Turn off the water while you brush your teeth.

* Water a lawn or plants when they are not exposed to direct sunlight. When a lawn or garden is watered during peak sunlight hours, a significant amount of water will be lost to evaporation.

* Only run the dishwasher or washing machine when it has a full load.

* Purchase water-efficient appliances.

* Use rainwater to irrigate the lawn and garden.

Protect

It's important to protect as well as conserve water. The following are a handful of ways to protect water supplies.

* Apply pesticides and fertilizers sparingly, and only do so when the forecast is not calling for rain, which can cause runoff, sending chemicals into groundwater and local water supplies.

* Recycle and dispose of household chemicals properly.

* Instead of washing your car at home, have it cleaned at a commercial car wash that uses eco-friendly cleaning products and recycled water.

* Properly dispose of pet waste to protect against pathogens that can contaminate surface water.