Earth Day 2014: A Reminder of All Earth’s Valuable Resources

It’s Earth Day! Any day is a good day to start conserving energy, water, and natural resources, but Earth Day serves as a reminder that we only have a certain amount of all the good things our planet provides and we should be careful with it all. At Orbit, we’re especially concerned about using water. The Earth may seem like it has plenty of water, but in reality only about one percent of it is available to humans for things like bathing, watering our lawns, and doing the dishes—oh, and drinking. So here are a few tips for conserving our much-needed water:

Water only when necessary. You probably didn’t know this, but more plants die from over-watering than from under-watering. When is it necessary? Use a shovel to take a look at the depth of the soil moisture. If the top 2 or 3 inches are dry, it’s time to water.

Be on the lookout for signs of overwatering: leaves turn lighter shades of green or yellow, young shoots wilt, and sometimes algae or fungi grow. Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust it so only your lawn is watered, not the sidewalk or the street. Don’t water on windy days where most of the water blows away or evaporates. Use drip irrigation where possible. It uses just a fraction of the water of normal sprinklers and can prevent weeds from growing in flowerbeds. Remember to be careful when using a hose. Set a timer when using the hose as a reminder to turn it off; a running hose can waste up to 10 gallons per minute.

Aside from letting your water run, another source of wasted water is leakage. Regularly check for leaks or breaks in your sprinklers. Perform a sprinkler audit by running every zone for a couple minutes every month. Often broken sprinklers are hard to notice because the water dries up before we ever see the traces.

Lastly, keep your drinking water separate from your sprinkler water. Make sure backflow prevention is installed. This keeps polluting chemicals out of our drinking water. Use secondary or reclaimed water for your plants. Plants can’t tell the difference and it keeps the clean stuff for purposes that actually need it.

Water isn’t an inexhaustible resource, but we can each do our part to make sure there’s enough to go around. What are you going do to this Earth Day to save water?