Protecting groundwater not just about Keystone XL

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Politicians and activists debate the route of the Keystone XL and its potential threat to the Ogallala Aquifer, and the Republican River and the wells around it are a source of contention between Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska as well as the Natural Resources Districts involved.

While those issues will have to be settled in the courts and legislatures, there are things we can do as individuals to protect our groundwater.

That's the focus of today's Protect Your Groundwater Day, sponsored by the Groundwater Foundation and the National Ground Water Association.

"Every person can do something to protect local groundwater -- from not polluting it to using water wisely," NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens said. "We each have a personal responsibility to protect groundwater. The good news is that for most people, all it takes is a small adjustment in their daily habits."

Some ideas:

* Take shorter showers, and don't overwater your lawn. It may actually be good to let your turf grass to experience mild drought conditions. More tips are available at http://www.american-lawns.com/lawns/watering.html

* Install a water-saving device, either on your shower or the sprinklers on your yard.

* Establish a take-back program for used motor oil or for pharmaceuticals. You should be able to return used oil to the retailer where you bought it, and other materials can be taken to the household hazardous waste collection point in McCook. Call Bill Elliott at (308) 345-4333 for more information.

* Limit the amount of fertilizers you use on your lawn and garden.

More information is available at www.groundwater.org.

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