Monday, April 27, 2009
Tips to Reduce Your Water Use
- Turn the water off when you brush your teeth
- Repair leaky faucets
- Install low-flow showerheads and faucets
- Install low-flush toilets
- Install water efficient appliances like a front-loading washing machine
- Only water your yard when necessary, and do so at night to reduce evaporation
- Use a rain barrel to collect water for your garden
- Landscape your lawn with native plants and grasses—they help the ground retain water
- Encourage natural recharge of groundwater by using permeable pavement options such as porous asphalt, porous concrete, paving stones or bricks
In your community:
- Encourage your local elected officials to plan for your community’s future water supply and to protect groundwater & surface water form contamination
- Encourage your elected officials to promote environmentally friendly design and planning, such as:
o Clustering development, which minimizes impact on undeveloped land
o Designing bioswales, a swale drainage system with gentle slopes and native vegetation, to aid with cleaner water absorption
o Requiring installation of water efficient appliances in new development projects
o Minimizing impervious surfaces and promoting infiltration into soil
Monday, April 27, 2009
Water is one of our most valuable resources. We drink it, plants need it to grow and fish call it home. Without clean water, we could not live.
While clean water is essential for all life, pollution and irresponsible water use plague our rivers, lakes and streams. Nationwide, states have determined that almost half of our rivers, streams and lakes are polluted enough that they don’t support recreational or aquatic life water uses. Poor city planning, droughts and water overuse also take a toll on our nation’s water supply.
The Midwest is no exception. Pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus (found in fertilizers and some detergents) causes algae overgrowth, which makes water unusable for drinking and recreating and unlivable for aquatic life. Pharmaceuticals and personal care products are becoming common in our rivers, lakes and streams, harming amphibians and potentially causing human impacts that are not yet understood. Many communities that are dependent on groundwater around the Midwest are tapping aquifers faster than they can be replenished and face possible water shortages in the coming years.
At home and in your community there are many steps you can take to clean up and conserve water. Simple actions such as recycling your car’s oil and purchasing environmentally friendly products can make a big difference in keeping the Midwest’s rivers and lakes clean. By repairing leaky faucets and installing low-flow toilets, homeowners can save thousands of gallons of water each year, helping to conserve the Midwest’s water resources.
Tips: Reduce your water use
Tips: Help keep our water clean
Monday, March 9, 2009
Oil drilling in western North Dakota produces large amounts of wastewater that is ten times saltier than seawater and can contain heavy metals and other substances. Oil companies are required to treat this water as a toxic substance when they dispose of it, but for years they have given the wastewater to municipailities to spread on roads as a deicer.
The state halted this practice after ELPC, other environmental groups and the media expressed concerns that it may harm water and wildlife and could be illegal. Recently some areas in North Dakota have resumed spreading the wastewater on roads. ELPC Attorney Brad Klien was quoted in this Associated Press article expressing ELPC’s concern about the use of this toxic substance.
“I think a lot of unanswered questions remain about the road-spreading of brines,” said Brad Klein, an attorney for the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “We do think the state is on weak legal ground and there are potential Clean Water Act violations.”
Friday, June 6, 2008
Metropolitan regions around the Midwest are expanding rapidly into neighboring farmland and natural areas, but few people are asking, “Is there enough water?”
The allocation of water from Lake Michigan is limited by Supreme Court decree. Many areas on the fringe of the Chicago region are predicted to suffer water shortages within the next 20 years, but development is booming in those same locations. At the same time, new development is dramatically increasing demand for water and damaging the needed water supplies. Hundreds of thousands of acres of new parking lots, roads, and other impervious surfaces prevent rainwater from soaking into the ground and replenishing groundwater supplies – and the water that is able to soak in often ends up polluted by gasoline, oils, road salts, or fertilizers and pesticides from suburban lawns. Shallow aquifers are increasingly polluted, and deep aquifers become more contaminated by radon the further they are drawn down.
By 2020, a number of townships and municipalities in the Chicago region will not have access to a sufficient amount of water to meet growing demand. Most of these shortages are projected for the “outer counties” where rapid growth is occurring without consideration of the availability of, or impact on, water supplies and where rapid growth is also threatening water quality.
What ELPC is Doing
ELPC is working with key stakeholders in these communities to achieve three goals: (1) Promote smart growth planning policies and practices that will enable suitable development to go forward: (2) Protect vulnerable groundwater resources from contamination; and (3) Protect surface water resources in Northern Illinois rivers, lakes and streams from development pressures that can harm aquatic ecosystems. We believe that our efforts will increase the level of discussion about these critical issues and promote solutions that meet the growth and environmental needs of these communities.
ELPC Reports: Land Use Tools to Protect Groundwater
In 2011, ELPC published a series of four reports, Land Use Tools to Protect Goundwater, funded by the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. They are available as PDF downloads, and you can also request a print copy.