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Water, Water, Everywhere, Part III Audio

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View: Water, Water, Everywhere, Part III  Audio:

Hiya folks, and welcome to Make-it-Green Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for an Earth-Friendly Life. Today we are going to save ourselves some more beautiful delicious clean water at home. We'll focus today on the great outdoors -- lawn, garden, and garage.
The Garage Let's start with your garage. You might think, "Hey, I don't use water in the garage." But there are at least two ways I can think of that you do; washing your car, and washing the floor.
A little know fact about my hometown of Las Vegas is that you can actually get cited and fined by the water-waste police for washing down your garage and driveway. Any water that flows off your property can result in a citation and fees. However backward Nevada may be in other environmental areas, it's certainly water concious.
This should be a lesson for everyone listening. Water cleans clothes and dishes -- not concrete and asphalt. The only one who should be washing your driveway is Mother Nature. Sweep out your garage and driveway with a broom, don't hose it down. If you just can't stand those oily stains any longer, consider putting a flooring coat over the concrete, or just doing what my parents did. Stick some old beat up bathroom rugs under each car and call it good.
Car Wash
Speaking of cars, you can save yourself some headaches and some time when it comes to washing your car. While I'm certainly an advocate of do-it-yourself projects, washing your car is best left to the professionals.
Why, Make-it-Green Girl, why? Well, many car washes are recycling the water they use on your car, running it through a purification process to use the water over and over. Additionally, the water is cleaned before it goes down the storm drain.
The reason you don't want your car-wash water to go down the storm drain is that most storm drains are not connected to municipal waste-water treatment systems. Water that runs off your streets during a rainstorm and water you use to wash your car both collect oil and pollutants and send it out raw to the discharge point--the San Francisco Bay or the Great Lakes, for example. Yuk!
If you must save your pennies and wash your car yourself, get a nice bucket and a big sponge. Fill the bucket first with soapy water to lather up, and then with clean water to rinse. Don't turn on the hose and spray indiscriminately, or just upend the bucket onto the car. Oh yeah, and don't forget to turn off the hose when you're done filling the bucket.
The Yard
So, I have a soapbox when it comes to lawns.American's are strangely addicted to nice green yards. But I'll save that rant for another episode. The short and sweet version (the version of the soapbox where you get to keep your lawn) is that lawns need lots of water. So best make the most of it while you can.
Water your lawn in the summer during the coolest part of the day -- early in the morning before the sun comes up. This will prevent evaporative losses, which can be quite substantial if you live in hot, dry places. Most of the American southwest falls under this category (not to mention the whole drought thing).
Something else that clever metropolitan areas are doing is recycling their water. Reclaimed water that is not quite potable, also called grey water, is very good for plants. Grey water comes from the treatment of waste water to a level that doesn't meet drinking water standards, but is still safe to use in other areas. It is mostly used for non-potable applications, like flushing toilets and agriculture. Some cities have grey water available for irrigation; ask your local water purveyor about this, especially if you are a business or property manager with lots of grass, lots of toilets, or both.
If you don't have recycled water available, consider doing it yourself. Use dish-water, car-wash-water, and even bath-water to water your plants with after you use it. Plants will love the nitrates and phosphates in your soap.
Alrighty, folks, you're all set to save some water outside your homes. So get to your garden and grow green!
Resources:
http://www.epa.gov/region09/water/recycling/

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