The Important Relationship between Forests and Water

There are few resources, if any, more vital to life than water. Whether it be drinking water or water in our homes for bathing and cleaning dishes, not one day goes by that we don’t need and use water. The average American uses an estimated 80-100 gallons of water per day. For many of us, having access to clean drinking water and running water in our homes is a necessity that we often take for granted. According to the United Nations, 85 percent of the world’s population lives in the driest half of the planet, and 783 million people do not have access to clean water.

But, people aren’t the only ones who need water — animals need clean water too, and for many species, such as different species of frogs which have highly permeable skin, water pollution can mean extinction. The loss of access to clean water, and the pollution of water sources, are partially due to deforestation.

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Water availability has a direct impact on the health of forests and their inhabitants, which shows the importance of the relationship between forests and water. Trees are made up of more than 50 percent water and need a steady source of it in order to grow and stay healthy. A healthy 100-foot-tall tree can take 11,000 gallons of water from the soil and release it into the air again, as oxygen and water vapor, in a single growing season. They “drink” in the water using their small, hair-like roots. Water from the soil enters their roots and is carried up the tree’s trunk all the way to the leaves.

Trees serve as natural sponges, collecting and filtering rainfall and releasing it slowly into streams and rivers, and are the most effective land cover for maintenance of water quality. The ability of forests to aid in the filtration of water doesn’t only provide benefits to our health and the health of an ecosystem, but also to our pocketbooks. Forest cover has been directly linked to drinking water treatment costs, so the more forest in a source water watershed, the lower the cost to treat that water. Forests provide these benefits by filtering sediments and other pollutants from the water in the soil before it reaches a water source, such as a stream, lake or river.

forest fact

Having a buffer of forestland by streams and riverbanks does even better than just filtering the water. They also help prevent erosion of sediment into the water, help to recharge the water table by allowing water to enter the ground and even the shade of trees play an important role in the lives of certain fish. Fish species, such as trout and salmon, are sensitive to changes in water temperature and will only lay their eggs in cool water, which is where the role of shady trees comes in.

To learn more about the relationship between forests and water, and to join in our Earth Month conversation, visit our Elements of Forests Earth Month homepage and use the hashtag #WeNeedForests on social media!

Categories: General

The Major Benefits Of Having A Water Filtration System In Your House

The quality of water that we drink, wash our hair and body with, as well as that we use to clean fruits and veggies, has a huge effect on our health. Nowadays, to make sure that the water we use is clean, treatment facilities add chlorine to it, which can be damaging as it may contain harmful bacteria and chemicals that have a negative effect on our health and wellbeing.

Tap water passes through water treatment facilities, however, it can get easily contaminated the moment it leaves the treatment facilities. Therefore, the best way to make sure that the water you consume is clean and hasn’t been contaminated is by installing a water filtration system.

In this article, we will provide you with the major benefits of having a water filtration system in your house.

Safe to Drink

Installing a water filtration system will ensure that the water you drink is clean, free of contaminants, and safe to drink compared to those coming from water treatment plants without going through a home filtration system. There are many types of contaminants that can be found in water coming straight from these treatment facilities, including chlorine, lead, and fluoride.

However, you can avoid the consumption of all these toxins by installing a water filtration system in your house. That way, you and your loved ones will get your daily supply of drinking water without any health risks.

Healthy Skin

The team at wellnesswaterfiltrationsystems.com recommends that you seek the help of certified experts to assess the water in your house and help you get rid of all impurities and toxins it contains. An easy way you can validate that they are certified is by checking their website. That way, you will ensure that anyone in the house who has eczema or any other skin condition will not suffer from more damage to their skin.

Cutting Costs

Your plumbing system can get damaged by heavy metals and minerals that are found in unfiltered water. However, installing a water filtration system in your home will reduce plumbing repairs, which will result in reduced repair bills as well. Other than the pipes in your house, some home appliances can get damaged by unfiltered water, like the fridge, washing machine, and dishwasher. Repairing or replacing these appliances can cost you a lot of money! Therefore, to cut costs and reduce your monthly bills, you need a reliable home filtration system to protect your pipes and home appliances from damage.

Preserves the Environment

Drinking bottled water will add to the already huge amounts of plastic waste our planet is suffering from. Plastic is endangering the existence of many marine creatures, as it can take up to five hundred years to disintegrate! Installing a home filtration system is a huge contribution to saving the environment from more plastic waste. Although it might seem like a small contribution, it is absolutely not! The amount of plastic bottles produced and thrown away is way too much than our planet can take!

Fewer Scum Deposits

Washing your clothes with unfiltered water that comes straight from the treatment plants can leave deposits on them over time. Moreover, if you use them to wash your clothes and dishes, it increases the number of scum build-ups sticking on your belongings that cause allergies and skin rashes. On the other hand, using filtered water to clean the floor and wash your clothes and dishes will reduce the number of scum buildups and deposits sticking to them.

There is absolutely no reason to consume or use unfiltered water as it poses risk to everyone’s health. If you think about it, filtered water is safer to drink as the filtration system removes the contaminants and toxins that it might be carrying. Filtered water can help you have better skin as well and ensures that any skin condition doesn’t get worse. Moreover, using filtered water will reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles, which is a major contribution to saving our planet. If you think that installing a filtration system is expensive, you are mistaken, as it will reduce your plumbing bills and protect your home appliances from damage. Water is life, so you need to make sure that you and your family are drinking clean and pure water.

Categories: General

Easy Things You Can Do To Protect Drinking Water Sources

Put up signs

Post signs along the border of your source water protection area to notify people that any pollution in that area can affect the quality of local drinking water.

Use and dispose of harmful materials properly

Easy Things You Can Do To Protect Drinking Water SourcesDon’t dump hazardous waste on the ground. It can contaminate the soil, which could also contaminate the groundwater or nearby surface water. A number of products used at home contain hazardous or toxic substances that can contaminate ground or surface waters, such as:

  • Motor oil
  • Pesticides
  • Leftover paints or paint cans
  • Mothballs
  • Flea collars
  • Household cleaners
  • A number of medicines

Don’t overuse pesticides or fertilizers. Many fertilizers and pesticides contain hazardous chemicals. These can travel through the soil and contaminate groundwater. If you feel you must use these chemicals, please remember to use them in moderation.

Volunteer in your community

Find a watershed or wellhead protection organization or source water collaborative in your community and volunteer to help. If there are no active groups, consider starting one.

Join in a beach, stream, or wetland cleanup

ACT: In Your Community | US EPA

You can make new friends while you help protect source water.

Prepare a presentation about your watershed for a school or civic organization

Discuss water quality threats, including the dangers of polluted runoff and habitat loss. In your presentation, highlight actions people can take to protect water quality, such as limiting fertilizer use and eliminating the use of herbicides and pesticides.

Organize a storm drain stenciling project

Clean Ocean Action: Step-by-StepStencil a message next to the street drain. This will remind people not to dump waste into a street drain because the water drains to the river. Use simple images and words when stenciling to help make the connection, such as:

  • Fish
  • Lakes
  • Streams
  • Bays
  • Groundwater
  • Oceans
  • “Protect Your Water” logo with the image of a glass and faucet

You can also use stencils to produce and distribute a flyer to your neighbors. Remind residents that storm drains dump directly into their local water source.

Categories: General

Finding Other Water Sources in an Emergency

Other sources of clean and safe water can be found inside and outside the home. The following are possible sources of water:

Preparing a Home Water Supply | Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene-related  Emergencies & and Outbreaks | Healthy Water | CDC

Inside the Home

  • Water from your home’s tap water heater tank. This refers to the tank that connects to the water that comes out of your faucets and showerheads. (This is different than the tank used to supply hot water to radiators in older homes. In these homes, be sure to use the tap water heater tank, not the home heating system tank.)
  • Melted ice cubes made with water that was not contaminated
  • Water from your home’s toilet tank (not from the bowl), if it is clear and has not been chemically treated with toilet cleaners such as those that change the color of the water
  • Liquid from canned fruit and vegetables
  • Water from swimming pools and spas can be used for personal hygiene, cleaning, and related uses, but not for drinking.

Listen to reports from local officials for advice on water precautions in your home. It may be necessary to shut off the main water valve to your home to prevent contaminants from entering pipes in your home.

Outside the Home

Drinking water supply - KPMG Global

Rivers, streams, and lakes might be contaminated with livestock waste, human sewage, chemicals, and other contaminants which can lead to illness when used for drinking, bathing, and other hygiene activities. During flood events, well water might be contaminated as well.

Water from sources outside the home must be treated as described in Make Water Safe, to kill harmful germs.  If you suspect or know the water is contaminated with toxic chemicals or fuels, it cannot be made safe and you should not drink or bathe in this water.

Possible sources of water that could be made safe by treatment include:

  • Rainwater
  • Streams, rivers, and other moving bodies of water
  • Ponds and lakes
  • Natural springs

Categories: General

RTI Center for Water Resources

Driving sustainable use of water

Water is one of the most vital natural resources on the planet—and yet, its distribution is also one of the most imbalanced. Some regions face growing water scarcity while others are plagued by recurring floods. Water’s dynamic nature means that shifts in climate and human activity can cause water security to change by the year, though extreme events can cause changes by the hour. Given these realities, government agencies, hydropower operators, utility companies and other water resources organizations across the globe need the right information at the right time to effectively address the planet’s growing water resources challenges.

With advanced, information-based technology and solutions, the RTI Center for Water Resources can help you translate data into actionable information to strengthen water security and resilience against a backdrop of increasing demand, water scarcity, extreme weather events and hydrologic uncertainty. We can help you make sustainable decisions and manage resources to meet critical water objectives related to water supplyhydropowerflooding or ecosystems.

Some of our highlighted water resources services include:

As part of a research institute, the RTI Center for Water Resources has applied innovative, science-based solutions to successfully complete more than 2,500 projects worldwide over the past 30 years (learn more about RTI’s wide range of experience and expertise in water and global environment and water resilience). Our highly skilled team of scientists and engineers are leaders in the design, development and implementation of integrated services and solutions for complex water issues. Let us help you make strategic decisions to respond to your water resources challenges using cutting-edge technologies, advanced analytics and actionable information.

Categories: General

THE IMPORTANCE OF WATER FILTRATION

The Importance of Water Filtration

Water is such an essential part of our daily lives that many times we don’t stop to consider where it’s being sourced or the quality of it. We assume we’re receiving the best possible output. For many, tap water is deemed undrinkable, which is where filtered water comes into play. The importance of water filtration is that it gives people access to clean water that is free of contaminants, that tastes good, and is a reliable source of hydration. Without it, there’s the risk of becoming ill from contaminated water or the alternative of drinking other beverages that may not be as good for your health as purified water.

There are different types of filtered water but all offer the basics of the water purification process. This involves water that has been strained of harmful chemicals, pesticides, bacteria, and other particles that contaminate the water. Although public water systems have filtration protocols in place, these vary from state to state. It depends on where your water supply is sourced from originally, the way it is treated, and the quality of water pipes. For example, older water filtration systems that use lead pipes may be harmful to the final dispersal of water because of lead leaching from the pipes into the water.

The main importance of water filtration is to prevent water-related illnesses and diseases. Infants, elderly adults, and people with poor immune systems are more highly susceptible to experiencing adverse effects due to contaminated water from the tap. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the top causes of outbreaks in public water systems include:

  • Copper
  • Salmonella
  • Hepatitis A
  • E. coli
  • Norovirus

Any of these contaminants and heavy metals can lead to health problems such as kidney and respiratory issues, reproductive challenges, and cancer. A polluted water supply can also be harmful to your skin and hair. Lastly, depending on the quality of water, certain values may be outside of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended pH level. When this occurs, it leads to a chance of an increased measure of corrosivity that dissolves metal it comes into contact with and eventually becomes part of the water. Suffice it to say, the chance of drinking water that hasn’t been filtered of heavy metals and impurities isn’t a chance that many people want to take.

FILTERED WATER SOLUTIONS THAT REMOVE CONTAMINATION AND IMPURITIES

Why a Water Filtration System is Important | Home Water Systems

Fortunately, there are several ways people can get filtered water. A water filter has microscopic holes that remove sediment and pollutants from the water. The smaller the holes, the less it allows to pass through and the cleaner the water is. The way each type of water filtration system works is slightly different. The most common options are bottled water, at-home filters, reverse osmosis units, and alkaline water.

BOTTLED WATER

Billions of gallons of bottled water are sold yearly as demand for it continues to increase. Although perceived as an inexpensive, convenient filtered water option, it is more costly in the long run than other filtered water choices. The price of bottled water is nearly 2,000 times the cost of tap water and has vastly increased the amount of plastic waste affecting our environment.

Fortunately, many have begun to shift toward using reusable water bottles as an alternative. Having a filtered water supply readily available for use is a key factor in helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste filling up the landfills and oceans. People want clean water that tastes great and can be found conveniently at places where they frequent most often.

FILTER FAUCET ATTACHMENTS AND PITCHERS

These types of filters are easily obtained and are effective in improving the taste of tap water. They help to reduce lead and solids by using a filter screen to capture small particles. In some cases, these types of filtration solutions use a block of activated carbon that helps to remove unpleasant odors and tastes that might be present in your water.

When using either of these at-home options, it’s important to change the filter on a regularly scheduled basis. Failure to do so causes build up in the filters and the water that passes through may not be as clean as desired. Also, when it comes to the availability of filtered water using pitchers, they constantly need to be refilled and there is a period of waiting time until purified drinking water is available again. This is an inconvenience when used in larger households or in organizations where a large group of people is relying on a consistent source of filtered water.

REVERSE OSMOSIS UNITS

Reverse osmosis forces water through a semipermeable membrane using pressure. It ensures that the smallest of particles and chemicals cannot pass through, which leaves behind the purest of water. This filtration process can take a few hours to deliver a couple of gallons, which also can prove to be inconvenient. Additionally, the water used is approximately three times as much as what is treated and suitable to drink. It may remove more harmful contaminants than the average filter, but its efficiency is lacking.

For those who want to make sure their water is wholly free of toxins, this could be a valuable option. However, since it does such a good job of straining out all particles, it means any healthy minerals naturally found in tap water are often left behind as well. You get a pure water experience but compromise losing other benefits along the way.

ALKALINE ALTERNATIVES

Alkaline water has a higher pH level than typical tap water which helps to neutralize its acidity and effect on the body. There are DIY ways to make alkaline water, but the most common way is using a water ionizer. The purpose of this water treatment system is to raise its number on the pH scale.

A water ionizer uses electricity to separate water molecules into alkaline and acidic, keeping the former and removing the latter. People who suffer from acid reflux or want to reduce the acidity in their diet have found this type of water to be beneficial. However, health claims still lack solid scientific evidence that it works to improve health.

FLOWATER ADVANCED FILTRATION STATIONS

The technology of FloWater’s electric water delivery system tackles the importance of water filtration from several angles. It captures solids, bacteria, and other microscopic organisms from the water and filters them out. It also focuses on removing lingering odors and unpleasant tastes from tap water. Although these two filters work similarly to at-home filters, it captures up to 99% of harmful contaminants and is only two parts to a seven-step process.

The system also relies on an advanced osmosis filter to achieve the purest water possible. Plus, it neutralizes the water’s pH level through an alkaline enhancement filter. From there, it adds healthy components back to the water in the form of electrolytes and traces of essential minerals.

The process is then finished with a coconut carbon filter to remove any last odors or tastes to deliver a crisp, delicious finish. This extensive filtration process combines the filtered water benefits of other water treatments, adds to it, and provides it in one ready-to-go system.

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM

The majority of people drink some type of filtered water. It’s best to consider all the factors when deciding which will work best for you. First is the performance. How well does the filter work? What percentage of harmful chemicals and particles does it remove? Does it add anything back to the water to boost its quality? Not all solutions deliver the same level of water purification.

The second thing to consider is the maintenance involved. How often do you have to change filters? Are there any other components that require attention on a regular basis to achieve safe drinking water? With at-home pitchers or faucets, the filters can become clogged after filtering a certain amount of water, which then deems them ineffective. It requires diligence and a continual cost to change out these filters on a constant basis.

The low-maintenance aspect of our service Refill Station serves as another benefit that other choices don’t have. The setup is performed by a certified technician and the design has chemical-free, self-sanitizing features, such as a powerful drain pump and hidden catchment tray, to limit the amount of ongoing maintenance needed. The majority of customers who use the stations only require a filter change once per year. Third, of course, is the quality of the water itself. How does the water taste? How convenient is the system to use? The goal is to have the best-tasting water chilled to the perfect temperature available at all times. When servicing larger crowds in work environments, gyms, or other public areas, speediness is a factor and doesn’t have to come at the sake of taste. Our stations chill water to a crisp 42° and have a fast auto-replenishment feature that takes 9 seconds to dispense into a 24-oz. bottle. It hits all the marks: cool, quick, and convenient.

FILTERED WATER AT ITS FINEST

Why a Water Filtration System is Important | Home Water Systems

The importance of water filtration spans all industries and households. Everyone wants cool, crisp water without the fear of contamination in their water. Our service provides a convenient, environmentally-friendly solution to filtering water. It also adds back electrolytes and neutralizes the water for a well-rounded, high-quality product.

It’s no secret that staying hydrated is essential to everyday health. The better the quality, the more it encourages people to drink more water on a regular basis. It’s also important that the source of purified water is readily available on-demand. With so many options of filtered water available, focus on the one that meets the full range of what people want. You can control the quality of water by using a filtration system that delivers on all levels.

Categories: General

How Can You Help Protect Source Water?

Communities, citizen groups, and individuals can take an active role in protecting their drinking water sources from contamination. The resources below provide information about source water protection and steps you can take at the local level to protect your drinking water.

Learn About Source Water Protection

Source Water Protection | US EPA

Learn About Your Drinking Water Source

Your drinking water utility includes information about the drinking water source in their annual drinking water quality report, also called a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). A CCR also tells you how to get a copy of the source water assessment for your drinking water source. Find your local CCR online.

Learn more about source water assessments, or ask your drinking water provider if there are any source water protection projects or groups you can support.

Take Everyday Actions

Use and Dispose of Harmful Materials Properly

Don’t pour hazardous waste down the drain, on the ground, or into storm sewers. This could contaminate the soil, groundwater, or nearby surface water.

A number of products used at home contain hazardous or toxic substances that can contaminate ground or surface waters, such as:

  • Motor oil
  • Pesticides
  • Leftover paints or paint cans
  • Mothballs
  • Flea collars
  • Household cleaners
  • A number of medicines

EPA’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) program has more advice on how to safely manage and reduce the use of these materials.

Think Twice about Lawn and Garden Chemicals

Limit the use of pesticides or fertilizers, and always follow the label directions. Many fertilizers and pesticides contain harmful chemicals which can travel through the soil and contaminate groundwater or runoff in stormwater to rivers, streams, and lakes. EPA evaluates pesticides to ensure that when they are used according to label directions they will not harm people, non-target species or the environment.

Properly Maintain Your Septic System

Use These 9 Tips to Maintain Your Septic Tank and Extend Its Life | Septic  Tank Pumping in Chattanooga, TN

Groundwater can be contaminated by poorly or untreated household wastewater, which poses dangers to drinking water and to the environment. Malfunctioning septic systems release bacteria, viruses, and chemicals to local aquifers and waterways. The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional. Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years. Alternative systems with electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components should be inspected more often, generally once a year.

Find more information on the SepticSmart Homeowners webpage.

Dispose of Your Medications Properly

In homes that use septic tanks, prescription and over-the-counter drugs flushed down the toilet can leach into the ground and seep into groundwater. In cities and towns where residences are connected to wastewater treatment plants, prescription and over-the-counter drugs poured down the sink or flushed down the toilet can pass through the treatment system and enter rivers and lakes. These water sources may flow downstream to community drinking water supplies. Water treatment plants are generally not equipped to routinely remove medicines.

EPA encourages the public to take advantage of pharmaceutical take-back collection programs that accept prescription or over-the-counter drugs, as these programs offer a safe and environmentally conscious way to dispose of unwanted medicines.

Learn more about safe ways to collect and dispose of unwanted medicines.


Volunteer in Your Community

Find or Start a Group

Find a watershed or wellhead protection organization or source water collaborative in your community and volunteer to help. If there are no active groups, consider starting one. Use the Source Water Collaborative’s How to Collaborate Toolkitto get started.

Picture of a volunteer picking up plastic litter on the coast of a river clean-up project.

Join in a Beach, Stream, or Wetland Cleanup

You can make new friends while you help protect source water.

Prepare a Presentation about Your Watershed for a School or Civic Organization

Discuss water quality threats, including the dangers of polluted runoff and ecosystem loss. In your presentation, highlight actions people can take to protect water quality, such as limiting fertilizer use and properly maintaining their septic systems.

Organize a Storm Drain Stenciling Project

Stencil a message next to the street drain. This reminds people not to dump waste into a street drain, which leads to local water sources such as rivers.  Use simple images and words when stenciling to help make the connection, such as:

  • Fish
  • Streams
  • Lakes
  • Groundwater
  • Bays
  • Ocean”Protect Your Water” logo with the image of glass and faucet 

You can also use stencils to produce and distribute flyers to your neighbors. Remind residents that storm drains dump directly into their local water source.

Put Up Signs

Post signs along the border of your source water protection area to notify people that any pollution in that area can affect the quality of local drinking water.


Participate in Source Water Protection at the Community Level

Identify Community Partners

Water is a shared resource. You can work within your community, watershed, or neighborhood to protect your drinking water.

Many partners are involved in implementing source water protection through watershed management strategies involving:

  • Assessing the potential sources of contamination in the protected area;
  • Prioritizing efforts to reduce the potential of impacts; and
  • Implementing management measures.

Use Your Assessment to Identify and Prioritize Needed Actions

States have completed the first step of assessing the protection area for all public water systems. Each assessment includes a delineation, a contaminant inventory, and susceptibility determination. You may find that the assessment in your local area is outdated.

Visit the assessment page to learn how it can be updated.

Work with Your Water Utility

Climate Adaptation and Water Utility Operations | US EPA

Water utilities provide the public with information, safety monitoring, and emergency response. They have a critical role to play in promoting source water protection, including:

  • Advocating for source water protection;
  • Providing annual drinking water quality reports (i.e., consumer confidence reports);
  • Creating opportunities for public participation (such as water board meetings and public forums);
  • Educating consumers;
  • Identifying potential sources of contamination;
  • Identifying and organizing other stakeholders; and
  • Working directly with owners and managers of potential sources of pollution.

Categories: General

Why Is Water Important? 16 Reasons to Drink Up

What’s the big deal?

It’s common to hear that water is essential for your health. But why?

This substance makes up a majority of your body weight and is involved in many important functions, including:

  • flushing out waste from your body
  • regulating body temperature
  • helping your brain function

You get most of your water from drinking beverages, but food also contributes a small amount to your daily water intake.

Read on to learn more ways water can help improve your well-being.

1. It helps create saliva

Water is a main component of saliva. Saliva also includes small amounts of electrolytes, mucus, and enzymes. It’s essential for breaking down solid food and keeping your mouth healthy.

Your body generally produces enough saliva with regular fluid intake. However, your saliva production may decrease as a result of age or certain medications or therapies.

If your mouth is drier than usual and increasing your water intake isn’t helping, see your doctor.

2. It regulates your body temperature

Staying hydrated is crucial to maintaining your body temperature. Your body loses water through sweat during physical activity and in hot environments.

Your sweat keeps your body cool, but your body temperature will rise if you don’t replenish the water you lose. That’s because your body loses electrolytes and plasma when it’s dehydrated.

If you’re sweating more than usual, make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

3. It protects your tissues, spinal cord, and joints

Water consumption helps lubricate and cushion your joints, spinal cord, and tissues. This will help you enjoy physical activity and lessen the discomfort caused by conditions like arthritis.

4. It helps excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation

Your body uses water to sweat, urinate, and have bowel movements.

Sweat regulates body temperature when you’re exercising or in warm temperatures. You need water to replenish the lost fluid from sweat.

You also need enough water in your system to have healthy stool and avoid constipation.

Your kidneys are also important for filtering out waste through urination. Adequate water intake helps your kidneys work more efficiently and helps to prevent kidney stones.

5. It helps maximize physical performance

Drinking plenty of water during physical activity is essential. Athletes may perspire up to 6 to 10 percentTrusted Source of body weight during physical activity.

Hydration also affects your strength, power, and endurance.

You may be more susceptible to the effects of dehydration if you’re participating in endurance training or high-intensity sports such as basketball.

Negative effects of exercise in the heat without enough water can include serious medical conditions, like decreased blood pressure and hyperthermia. Extreme dehydration can cause seizures and even death.

6. It helps prevent constipation

Eating fiber isn’t the only way to prevent constipation. It’s also important to maintain your water intake so your bowel movements contain enough water.

If you don’t consume enough water, magnesium, and fiber, you may be more likely to experience constipation.

If you’re already constipated, you may find that drinking carbonated waterTrusted Source, as well as plain water, can help ease your symptoms.

7. It aids in digestion

Contrary to what some believe, experts confirm drinking water before, during, and after a meal will help your body break down the food you eat more easily. This will help you digest food more effectively and get the most out of your meals.

Research showsTrusted Source the body adapts to changes in the consistency of food and stomach contents, whether more solid or more liquid.

8. It helps with nutrient absorption

In addition to helping with food breakdown, water also helps dissolve vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from your food. It then delivers these vitamin components to the rest of your body for use.

9. It helps you lose weight

Studies have linked body fat and weight loss with drinking water in both overweight girlsTrusted Source and womenTrusted Source. Drinking more water while dieting and exercising may just help you lose extra pounds.

10. It improves blood oxygen circulation

Water carries helpful nutrients and oxygen to your entire body. Reaching your daily water intake will improve your circulation and have a positive impact on your overall health.

11. It helps fight off illness

Drinking enough water can help prevent certain medical conditions trusted Source. These include:

Water also helps you absorb important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from your food, which will increase your chances of staying healthy.

12. It helps boost energy

Drinking water may activate your metabolism. A boost in metabolism has been associated with a positive impact on energy level.

One study found that drinking 500 milliliters of water boosted the metabolic rate by 30 percent in both men and women. These effects appeared to last over an hour.

13. It aids in cognitive function

Proper hydration is key to staying in tip-top cognitive shape. ResearchTrusted Source indicates that not drinking enough water can negatively impact your focus, alertness, and short-term memory.

14. It helps improve mood

Not getting enough water can also affect your mood. Dehydration may result in fatigue and confusion as well as anxiety.

15. It helps keep skin bright

Adequate water intake will help keep your skin hydrated and may promote collagen production. However, water intake alone isn’t enough to reduce the effects of aging. This process is also connected to your genes and overall sun protection.

16. It prevents overall dehydration

Dehydration is the result of your body not having enough water. And because water is imperative to so many bodily functions, dehydration can be very dangerous.

Severe dehydration can result in a number of severe complications, including:

  • swelling in your brain
  • kidney failure
  • seizures

Make sure you drink enough water to make up for what’s lost through sweat, urination, and bowel movements to avoid dehydration.

How much should you drink?

Being attentive to the amount of water you drink each day is important for optimal health. Most people drink when they’re thirsty, which helps regulate daily water intake.

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, general water intake (from all beverages and foods) that meet most people’s needs are:

  • about 15.5 cups of water (125 ounces) each day for men
  • about 11.5 cups (91 ounces) daily for women

People get about 20 percent of their daily water intake from food. The rest is dependent on drinking water and water-based beverages. So, ideally men would consume about 100 ounces (3.0 liters) of water from beverages, and women, about 73 ounces (2.12 liters) from beverages.

You’ll have to increase your water intake if you’re exercising or living in a hotter region to avoid dehydration.

Other ways to assess hydration include your thirst and the color of your urine. Feeling thirsty indicates your body is not receiving adequate hydration. Urine that is dark or colored indicates dehydration. Pale or non-colored urine typically indicates proper hydration.

The bottom line

Water is important to nearly every part of your body. Not only will hitting your daily recommended intake help you maintain your current state of being, it may even improve your overall health.

Here are some ideas for how you can be sure you drink enough:

  • Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. This way you can drink whenever the need strikes.
  • Keep track of your intake. Aim to take in optimum amounts every day, a minimum of half your body weight in ounces.
  • Pace yourself to approach half of your recommended consumption by midday. You can always finish about an hour before you plan to sleep.

Contact us for more information.

Categories: General

SUSTAINABLE WATER: OUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SUSTAINABLE WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS & STRATEGIES

Sustainable water means a nation that can be water self-sufficient: ensuring there is enough water to meet multiple needs, from agriculture to municipal and industrial. It also means water supply will remain consistent, despite climate change impacts, such as a lack of rainfall and drought, or too much rain and being flood resilient. Sustainable water also means that the economics stack up in matching supply and demand and the water delivery process is as efficient as possible. Water sustainability, meanwhile, can also mean energy neutrality by coupling traditional water treatment technologies with renewable energies. The following article is designed to provide everything you need to know about sustainable water.

What is water sustainability?

UN info graphic

Image credit: the United

Sustainable water management means the ability to meet the water needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. Achieving sustainable water management requires a multidisciplinary and holistic approach in which technical, environmental, economic, landscape aesthetic, societal and cultural issues are addressed.

On a global scale, having sustainable water means providing each person on the planet with affordable access to the minimum 20 to 50 liters of daily water required to sustain life. This follows the United Nations General Assembly’s recognition of “the right to safe and cleaning drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights”.

Water sustainability also means effective and holistic management of water resources. There are now multiple demands on water resources, which drive the need for sustainable, integrated and holistic water management.

UK regulator Ofwat describes ‘Sustainable water’ as: “A sustainable water cycle in which we are able to meet our needs for water and sewerage services while enabling future generations to meet their own needs.”

For water utilities, this can mean effective planning for water and wastewater systems to manage their operations and infrastructure and ensure the sustainability of the communities they serve, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US. The Agency said the benefits of considering sustainability during infrastructure planning include:

  • Optimizing environmental, economic, and social benefits by setting goals and selecting projects through a transparent and inclusive process with the community
  • Realizing consistency across a range of alternatives that address both utility and community goals and
  • Enhancing the long-term technical, financial, and managerial capacity of the utility.

Typically, water utilities have a long-term planning horizon and long-term infrastructure operation and maintenance commitments. The costs and potential benefits of investment decisions are realized over a long period of time. Accordingly, EPA’s Sustainability Policy calls on drinking water and wastewater systems to undertake “robust and comprehensive” planning to ensure that water infrastructure investments are cost-effective over their lifecycle, resource-efficient, and consistent with other relevant community goals.

Levels of water sustainability will also differ between utilities. Some utilities and communities have been incorporating sustainability considerations into their planning processes but are looking for ways to improve and refine their current efforts. Others may choose to focus on how such considerations can help to cost-effectively meet existing regulatory or service requirements.

Sustainable water solutions: the basics

Sustainable water systems should provide adequate water quantity and appropriate water quality for a given need, without compromising the future ability to provide this capacity and quality, according to the IWA.

The association states: “Water systems in the realm of sustainable development may not literally include the use of water, but include systems where the use of water has traditionally been required. Examples include waterless toilets and waterless car washes, whose use helps to alleviate water stress and secure sustainable water supply.”

Distribution of earths water

Image credit: U.S Geological Survey

The following list from the IWA addresses how different water sources can be used sustainably:

Surface water

Surface water is limited as is unequally distributed around the world and pollution from various activities means that surface water without treatment is not suitable for drinking. If properly constructed, dams can provide a sustainable water supply as the structures can be used for power generation, irrigation, flood prevention, water diversion and navigation. However, large-scale dam projects may present challenges to sustainability: negative environmental impacts on wildlife habitats, fish migration, water flow and quality and socioeconomic impacts. Therefore, a sustainability impact assessment should be performed.

Groundwater

Groundwater accounts for more than 50 percent of global freshwater and is critical for potable water. Groundwater can be a sustainable supply of water only if the amount of water entering, leaving and being stored in the system is conserved. The IWA says unsustainable groundwater use results in water-level decline, reduce streamflow and low-quality water, directly impacting local communities.

Desalination

Battery legend elemental water makers desalination reverse osmosis

Image credit: Elemental Water Makers 

In some nations lacking freshwater, desalination has provided an adequate water supply for many years. However, higher energy demands from both thermal and membrane-based compared to groundwater and surface water treatment have challenged the adaption of desalination as a sustainable one. However, the IWA said that the sustainability of desalination could be improved if it is coupled with renewable energy. Decentralized, solar power desalination has been recommended as a way to provide more sustainable water for Greece’s 6000 islands.

Reclaimed water

Reclaimed-Water-Infographic

Image credit: Tata & Howard

Reclaimed water, or water reuse as it’s known, can also be a sustainable source for water supply and can alleviate stress on primary water resources, such as surface and groundwater. Depending on the given application, reclaimed water must be treated to provide an appropriate quality, for example for irrigation or industry use. The level of water reuse varies globally. Countries such as Spain and China continue to lead the way in water reuse, with the latter accounting for 49 percent of capacity contracted between 2010 and 2017.

Sustainable water resources management

Sustainable water supply is a component of integrated water resource management, according to the IWA. The association identifies it as the “practice of bringing together multiple stakeholders with various viewpoints to determine how water should best be managed”. To decide if a water system is sustainable, various economic, social and ecological considerations must be considered.

Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) has outlined the following areas where sustainable water resources management will need to take place, which ties in with its overarching goal of “Securing Sustainable Water for All”.

Agriculture

Sustainable water: our essential guide to sustainable water resource management solutions & strategies

Image credit: Aquatech

Agriculture is by far the thirstiest consumer of water globally, accounting for 70 per cent of water withdrawals worldwide, although this figure varies considerably across countries. Rainfed agriculture is the predominant agricultural production system around the world, and its current productivity is, on average, little more than half the potential obtainable under optimal agricultural management. By 2050, world agriculture will need to produce 60% more food globally, and 100 percent more in developing countries.

Industry and energy

Together, industry and energy account for 20 percent of water demand. More-developed countries have a much larger proportion of freshwater withdrawals for the industry than less-developed countries, where agriculture dominates. Balancing the requirements of sustainability against the conventional view of industrial mass production creates several conundrums for industries. One of the biggest is globalization and how to spread the benefits of industrialization worldwide and without unsustainable impacts on water and other natural resources.

Domestic sector

Municipal water use accounts for 10 percent of total water use. And yet, worldwide, an estimated 748 million people remain without access to an improved source of water, and 2.5 billion remain without access to improved sanitation.

Cities

Managing water for growing populations

Image credit: Chicago Council on Global Affairs 

More than half the world already lives in urban areas, and by 2050, it is expected that more than two-thirds of the global population of nine billion will be living in cities. Furthermore, most of this growth will happen in developing countries, which have limited capacity to deal with this rapid change, and the growth will also lead to an increase in the number of people living in slums, which often have very poor living conditions, including inadequate water and sanitation facilities. Therefore, the development of water resources for economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability will be closely linked with the sustainable development of cities.

Ecosystems

Perhaps the most important challenge to sustainable development to have arisen in the last decades is the unfolding global ecological crisis that is becoming a barrier to further human development. From an ecological perspective, sustainable development efforts have not been successful. Global environmental degradation has reached a critical level with major ecosystems approaching thresholds that could trigger massive collapse. The growing understanding of global planetary boundaries, which must be respected to protect Earth’s life support systems, needs to be the very basis of the future sustainable development framework.

Sustainable water management strategies: three examples

Sustainable water strategies will be devised by the regional and national governments and will vary depending on a variety of factors: maturity of water infrastructure, impact and risks from climate change, level of governmental ambition, regulation and access to finance, among others.

According to the IWA, sustainability is as much an outcome as a goal. The conceptual framework for Sustainable Water Resources Management considers water as a renewable, but finite resource with global and regional constraints. This should integrate ecological, economic, and social considerations through institutional and legal/regulatory constructs to move toward sustainable water resources.

There are multiple case studies where government-led sustainable water management strategies have been developed, taking into account national regulations. Below we have listed three very different examples, from city to state and countrywide in scope:

Country-wide sustainable water: A long-term water strategy for Northern Ireland

Sustainable water: our essential guide to sustainable water resource management solutions & strategies

Image credit: Aquatech

This wide-ranging strategy focuses on the sustainable management of water in rivers, lakes, loughs and aquifers used for domestic, agricultural and industrial cases. The document proposes how excess rainwater can be managed sustainably locally to reduce the impact of flooding on communities. It also examines how we can reduce the amount of energy needed to move and treat drinking water and wastewater.

State-wide: sustainable water strategies for Victoria, Australia

In a statuary process for state-wide water resource planning in the Australian state of Australia, there are four regional water strategies. Driven by The Water Act 1989, these sustainable water strategies have to be reviewed at least every 10 years. The review of the Central Region Sustainable Water Strategy started in 2016 and is now complete. The five-year assessments of the Western Region and Gippsland Region sustainable water strategies began in 2017 and are also complete. The review of the Northern Region Sustainable Water Strategy is expected to start in late 2019.

City-wide: Rotterdam – leading the way in urban resilience

The Dutch city of Rotterdam topped the Arcadis’ Sustainable Cities Water Index list. The city has been innovative and proactive in its approach to water management, including heavy investment into its reservoir catchment system. Rotterdam has become a showcase in urban resilience that directly leads to sustainable water supply: the city is among the highest in the world in terms of water reserves.

Water sustainability projects: Three examples

There are three examples of water sustainability projects:

Huaifang Underground Water Reclamation Plant (HWRP)

Huaifang Underground Water Reclamation Plant HWRP

Image credit: China Daily 

This project was awarded Gold in the 12th IWA project innovation awards as ‘Beijing’s sustainable solution for ecological water reuse’. The 31-hectare wastewater recycling plant was designed to ease sewage treatment pressure being experienced in the south of Beijing and to improve the water quality of the Liangshui River. The underground wastewater recycling facility will house four 160 square meter bioreactors, producing recycled water to level four (IV) of Environmental Quality Standards for Surface Water. As an underground treatment plant, the aim is for the facility to reduce land occupancy as well as containing any noise and foul odors emanating from the plant. Greywater will be used for industrial and municipal purposes while sludge will be treated and reused as a landfill as well as forest soil enrichment.

Omdurman Water Supply Optimisation Scheme, Sudan

Omdurman Water Supply Optimisation Scheme Sudan

Image credit: Biwater

One of the most significant steps towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in sub-Saharan Africa in 2008, the Omdurman Water Supply and Optimisation Scheme was designed to alleviate critical drinking water shortage in and around the capital of Khartoum, Sudan. Biwater was contracted to finance and build a large-scale water treatment plant, primary distribution and storage, with an intake on the Nile, downstream of the confluence of the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The innovative intake structure was built to reliably manage challenging river level fluctuations, strong flows and large amounts of silt carried by the river during the rainy season each year. Interestingly, the innovative intake structure was designed by Biwater to rise and fall over two levels, coping with up to eight meter variances in the river level, as well as the sheer weight and intensity of the sediment carried in the water.

Improving conditions in the Andean communities

Improving conditions in the Andean communities

Image credit: Andres Times

A project known as AICCA is being rolled out in the Andean regions of Peru, Bolivia and Columbia that will focus on clean water and climate change. The Bank of Latin American Development and the Global Environment Facility has supported the project with a total of $10 million. The project aims to address the challenges of climate change with a focus on ensuring water sustainability in the Andean populations.

Sustainable water management: wedding renewables & water together

One development that physically embodies sustainable water management is renewable-powered water systems, specifically solar-powered desalination. It ties in with a goal set for 20 percent of new desalination plants to be powered by renewables between 2020-2025, by the International Desalination Association’s (IDA) Global Clean Water Desalination Association.

By bringing together renewable and desalination technologies, it is being seen as a vital combination to reduce the desalination carbon footprint in the short term.

To date, there have been several small-scale trials across the Middle East, Spain and India, bringing together concentrated solar power (CSP) and seawater desalination. The challenge has been to scale up the size of the operation and make it fully independent, without access to grid power as a backup when the sun isn’t shining. For example, currently, many developments revert to grid power during the nighttime to ensure continuous operation.

There is a notable case study in development in Saudi Arabia worth mentioning. February engineering firm Metito announced it had secured a contract with the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) to construct a “seawater desalination plant powered by solar energy”.

Sustainable water: our essential guide to sustainable water resource management solutions & strategies

Image credit: Aquatech

Valued at SAR220,404,144 (US$58.7 million), the desalination plant will start with a capacity to produce 30,000 m3/day of drinking water, expandable to 60,000 m3/day. The project is expected to be in development for 24 months, with production slated to start in the first quarter of 2020.

The work includes a 2 megawatt (MW) solar plant that will be fully designed, procured, installed, commissioned and integrated with the RO system.

Other developments in this space include much smaller, off-grid solar-powered desalination solutions. French engineering company Mascara Renewable Water has developed such a system that has been trialed in Abu Dhabi. It used a beach well to obtain seawater from a borehole near the sea. The natural sand filtration of the beach well eliminated the need for a dedicated pre-treatment system, according to the company.

Battery storage has also been touted as one way to have an independent solar and photovoltaic desalination plant. However, concerns remain about high investment costs needed, coupled with a long delivery time. Contact us for more information.

Categories: General

Blog: How Farmers Keep Illinois Drinking Water Clean So You Can Beat The Summer Heat

HOW FARMERS KEEP ILLINOIS DRINKING WATER CLEAN SO YOU CAN BEAT THE SUMMER HEAT

While water may be top of mind for you this summer as you head to lakes and rivers and down countless glasses of ice-cold water, I’ve spent pretty much my entire career thinking about our water, and what I can do to keep Illinois drinking water clean and safe. After all, I drink the same water and enjoy nature’s beauty just like you.

A farmer’s responsibility is to ask ourselves this question: “What is the potential impact of this farming practice on the land and water resources?”

No action, positive or negative, should precede the asking of this question. The same goes for water quality.

My name is Jeff O’Connor. I live in northeast Illinois near the small town of Irwin, population less than 100. We grow soybeans, corn and wheat. The O’Connor family settled this area in the late 1800s and has been farming it ever since.

In 1989, my grandfather invited me to our local Kankakee County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) meeting. He never made it to another one, and I never left. A soil and water conservation district’s purpose is to look at the farmer-land-water relationship and find ways to improve it. Our greatest potential for growth comes from times when we initially feel the most uncomfortable. Becoming involved with the SWCD was no exception. I was a fresh college graduate, stepping into an arena filled with lifelong farmers from all corners of the county. To say that I felt out of place, with nothing to contribute, was an understatement. I remember sitting in a back corner of the board room for what felt like a year before adding to any discussions.

While uncomfortable at first, it’s been rewarding ever since. For the last 25 years, I’ve served as director for the district, and for 30-plus years I’ve been able to hear about, and often see, the newest ideas in land conservation long before the general farming community has. I’ve never felt like an innovator, just a very early adopter.

And nothing gives you an appreciation for clean water like visiting another country and seeing what it’s like to go without it. On a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, my wife and I saw firsthand street sewage and polluted water resources. That experience instilled in me to never take clean water for granted, and to do whatever I can to continue improving this resource.

KEEPING ILLINOIS WATER CLEAN STARTS WITH HEALTHY SOIL

Even though we don’t have highly erodible land on our farm, we still have enough slope that excess water will gather and run off my fields. And when that water runs off, it takes with it one of our most precious resources, the topsoil.

Why is topsoil important? Because it contains all the nutrients that plants need to survive. In fact, analysis shows that the nutrient loss in this runoff is as damaging as losing the soil itself. So, I have a vested interest in helping water move across my fields in a way that’s safe for the environment and my livelihood. Here are a handful of ways I’ve done this:

  • Areas prone to erosion on my farm have almost continually been protected by small grass buffers, which help trap the sediment carried by the water.
  • Both my grandfather and father used below-ground drain tile before most other farms did. Drainage tile is meant to reduce water erosion and remove excess standing water from fields. This is a practice that hasn’t come without criticism. Some might say that it speeds up water movement off the land and can contribute to water quality issues. On my farm, water quality of drainage water now carries as much weight for my cropping decisions as preventing erosion always has. We’ve incorporated water control structures that work year-round. These systems can be used to hold back drain water during the summer months when water is needed. This in turn reduces the amount of nutrients leaving a field through field drainage.
  • We’ve enrolled some of our field edges where water runs off in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), meaning instead of planting crops on that ground, we’ve planted habitat that will prevent soil erosion, support wildlife habitat and keep Illinois water clean and safe.
  • No-till and strip tillage are used on all fields. This means we’re reducing and sometimes completely eliminating how much we turn over the soil each year. This also helps reduce soil erosion and builds organic matter (a.k.a., plant food) in the soil, thanks to leftover stalks and plant material from the previous harvest.
  • We use cover crops before all soybean planting and are experimenting with planting these crops ahead of corn. Cover crops are planted in the fall and grow until spring. They reduce soil erosion, improve soil health by providing nutrients and enhance overall soil structure by increasing organic matter. Learn more about this “blanket” for fields.

There is no substitution for the land and water resources we have in the Midwest, and the responsibility we feel as farmers to keep Illinois drinking water clean and safe. Just like other industries, what we know and the technology we have is always changing, and so we aim to make continuous improvements as we go. And in my experience, farmers have always adapted for the better.

Categories: General