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August is National Water Quality Awareness Month

August 17, 2010

By WeatherBug Meteorologists

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Water is everywhere. On average about 140 million gallons are consumed by the U.S. every day! August is National Water Quality Awareness month. Keeping the U.S. water clean as well as conserving personal usage is crucial, considering how much the U.S. drink everyday.

Conserving water is important year round. During the summer months conservation is essential. More water is used not only to irrigate crops, but since people are outside more, much more water is consumed. Here are some water saving tips.
  • Purchase water saving appliances. Not only will it save money, but they help out during droughts by not using as much water.
  • Water gardens and lawns either early in the day or in the late evening. The midday sun will evaporate the water quicker making it less effective for the vegetation. Evaporation can also burn flowers.
  • Don`t let faucets drip and turn off water when you`re not using it while brushing teeth and washing dishes.
  • Check toilets, a leak in the tank will make it run continuously, wasting a lot of water.
  • Check sinks, pipes, and other fixtures for leaks.

It is common to think that there is an unlimited supply of water, but in fact there is only certain water that can be used. Most of our water comes from lakes, rivers, and springs. This is why many areas have different tasting tap water.

Some cities do not have a body of water near them. Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix are examples of large cities that need to import all of their water.

Los Angeles imports their water from the Colorado River. They have developed a 242-mile long aqueduct that diverts water into California. Combining the aqueduct and delivery trucks, Los Angeles imports about 200 billion gallons a year. Conservation is extra important in these areas due to a restricted supply.

Many homes still use well water. This is why it is vital to prevent littering and the dumping of trash in non specified areas. When it rains, the water can pick up various chemicals and take them into the ground water. Such chemicals include but are not limited to lead, arsenic, radon, gasoline, oil, and bacteria.

These contaminates can cause a variety of health problems. Minor problems could result in diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and headaches. Long-term contamination by more serious chemicals could result in skin damage, circulatory deficiencies, joint or bone pain, kidney problems, high blood pressure, or even cancer.

This does not just affect homes with well water, many homes with regular water is collected from lakes and rivers. Even though it is filtered and processed, drinking water still contains chemical and pollutants, albeit lower than legal limits.

Be sure to keep your WeatherBug active for drought and heat alerts and updates.

By conserving and not polluting, you will help keep the U.S. water supply one of the cleanest and safest in the world.

Source: EPA

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Story image: WeatherBug user Derek Jennings of Missoula, Mont. took this picture of a beautiful stream.

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