Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A bicyclist’s view of wasted water

As a bike rider, I see it every day. Sprinklers on, splattering or draining all over the asphalt, wasting a precious natural resource and washing it down into storm drains, contributing to stormwater runoff problems.

Many folks don’t realize that water going into storm drains carries oil and pollutants from the street, plus fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides from our lawns. This water is untreated – it goes directly into Puget Sound. And, into the animals and plants that live there.

Besides being a hazard to the environment, this wasteful water use adds up to added expense for businesses and homeowners with little return on investment.

Every morning and often in the evening, while I am biking to and from work, I see puddles of water in the streets. Often, I have to dodge sprinklers shooting water onto the bike path. And, the next day it's the same thing. Many times in the same areas, as you can see in this photo, taken the day after the top photo.

Sprinklers are often programmed to water even in the rain! It'd be laughable if it weren't so sad.

Seeing this makes me realize just how important Ecology is. Educating, spreading the word, and being good examples will hopefully keep our communities’ water a sustainable resource long into the future.

FRONTLINE did a report on runoff. Here’s a link that has lots of that information: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/puget_sound/index.html . And Ecology’s Washington Waters — Ours to Protect website has helpful information on how each of us can do our part to prevent stormwater pollution.

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