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Conserving water good for the garden and planet

By JOE LAMP’L
DIY Network
Today it’s estimated that the average American uses about 100 gallons of water a day. And between 25 percent and 40 percent of that goes to outdoor use.
But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, of all the water Americans do use, about half of it is wasted. If we were more responsible about its use and started using only what we needed, we could save over 3 billion gallons of water every day.
And speaking of large numbers, we gardeners are a pretty large force, many millions strong. So there’s a tremendous opportunity for us to make a big difference and save a lot of water. Food for thought for Earth Day ó and beyond.
It might be as simple as fixing leaky faucets or spigots. I bet you didn’t know that one drop per second amounts to over 3,000 gallons of water wasted every year. And that’s just from one spigot. Just imagine if we fixed all the leaks.
It might be simply a matter of watering properly, because so much water is lost to over-watering, runoff and evaporation. If we knew just how much water to use, we could save a tremendous amount of water and still get the same great results.
Harvesting rainwater is another easy way to get lots of free water to use whenever and wherever we need it. And today, rain barrels are an easy way to do that. They are readily available and easy to install and use. The bonus is that rainwater is the best source of water to protect the health of our plants and soil.
There’s another reason for harvesting and retaining water on your property. Just in case you didn’t know, water always wants to go somewhere. But as water moves along, it takes with it sediments and contaminants that ultimately make their way into a watershed, polluting the water and harming wildlife, breaking down ecosystems and destroying biodiversity.
So the more you know about protecting this precious resource we have called water, the more you can do to protect your own little corner of the world ó and the world we all share together. If we all do our part, drop by drop, it really will all add up.
(Joe Lamp’l, host of “Fresh from the Garden” on the DIY Network and “GardenSMART” on PBS, is a Master Gardener and author. For more information, visit www.joegardener.com and www.DIYnetwork.com. For more stories, visit scrippsnews.com.)

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