Water action week in Minnesota (April 17 – 23, 2016)

Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed April 17 – 23, 2016, to be Water Action Week in Minnesota. Learn what you can do to protect water quality and conserve water in your home and your community:

SPRINKLE SMARTLY. Water your lawn early in the morning, and don’t water your sidewalk and driveway. Shut your sprinkler off if it’s raining (make sure the rain sensors are working if you have them), and set the timer. Consider putting a rain barrel under your downspout to capture water, so you can use it later. More yard and garden tips.

TURN THE FAUCET OFF  when you’re brushing your teeth. Water comes out of the average faucet at 2 gallons per minute; you can save 4 gallons of water by just turning off the tap. Start a wash cycle only when you have a full load of dishes or clothes. Consider reusing towels instead of just using them once. What you can do in your home.

MIND THE GUTTER. Keep your leaves and grass clippings out of the street, or they will wash into the storm drain and eventually into our lakes and rivers. Phosphorus from leaves and grass creates green slime in the lakes from algae growth. Ways to reduce nutrients in lakes and streams.

AVOID CESSPOOLS. Maintain your septic system — especially if you have a house on a lake. Do you really want to be swimming in sewage? A poorly functioning septic system may not remove pathogens, nutrients, and other chemicals from the used water before it enters our groundwater or lakes. Septic system information for homeowners.

BUFFER YOUR SHORELINE. Natural shorelines of perennial vegetation help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment by slowing runoff and trapping sediment. The vegetation absorbs pollutants, preventing them from entering the water supply. More buffers are needed all around Minnesota, from lakeshores and river banks to water running through farm fields. Compare water quality with and without buffers.

DON’T BE A DRIP. At one drip per second, a faucet can leak 3,000 gallons in a year, and a running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day. Most leaks are easily repaired and can mean big savings. For even more savings, consider installing high efficiency fixtures and appliances. Don’t let your toilet run away.

KEEP IT CLEAN. Modern car washes use a lot less water per vehicle and recycle their water. Plus all that dirty, soapy water doesn’t end up running out of your driveway, down the stormdrain, and into some unlucky lake, stream, or wetland. Spoil yourself and your car by taking a trip to the car wash. Spring cleaning tips for protecting water.

GO TO A LOW NITROGEN DIET. Use as little nitrogen fertilizer on lawns and fields as possible. More is not always better and may mean less cash in your wallet. Learn more about reducing nitrogen fertilizer use by contacting your Soil and Water Conservation District Office. Why reducing nitrogen is important.

KNOW AND VOLUNTEER IN YOUR COMMUNITY. Get involved! Learn about local programs to protect water that are presented in the Anoka County Water Resources ReportVolunteer to monitor a lake or stream, join a local lake association, or attend your local watershed district meeting (local contacts). Clean, healthy water is connected to economic opportunities and healthy communities. Find an opportunity to volunteer.

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