WaterWise is now offering mobile water conservation workshops!

WaterWise is now offering mobile workshops to help landscape personnel save water! A WaterWise tailgate workshop consists of an instructor driving to a landscape company’s site. Driving to the facility and teaching the workshop outdoors eliminates the need to secure a facility. Everything is done outside and the WaterWise instructor brings a pick-up truck loaded with equipment. The instructor opens his tailgate and teaches his water conservation workshop. The instructor then introduces water saving methods to field personnel. WaterWise forgoes handbooks and keeps everything as simple as possible. However, the workshops stress hands-on exercises that employees can use while out in the field. Classes can be taught in both English or Spanish.
Please click this link for an example of our workshop

Teenager’s innovation may help determine water quality with a cell phone

Allison Bick was recently awarded the 2011 Stockholm Junior Water Prize award for a project involving using cell phones to measure water quality. The award was presented to Miss Bick by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden during the World of Water Week in Stockholm. Miss Bick’s project combines cell phones with indicator chemicals, such as Colilert-18 to measure the quality of water. This innovative project stood out against the others because it uses readily available and affordable technology, such as cell phones, to test water quality. The process developed by Miss Bick takes 18 fewer hours for results and costs 1/200th the price of standard tests. These new and improved tests can be implemented both developing as well as developed countries to test for water quality.

To read more about Allison Bick’s award or her project, visit: http://www.siwi.org/sa/node.asp?node=1253

Or, download: http://www.siwi.org/documents/Resources/Prize_Nominating/SJWP_Finalistkatalog_2011_web.pdf

Brian O’Neill

What is the NHL doing to conserve water?

800,000 Gallons can either grow you one acre of cotton, brew 500 barrels of beer, or supply enough water to support seven NHL playoff games. Since this is such a large amount of water, the NHL wants to reduce their demand on water supplies. The NHL Green is the National Hockey League’s sustainability initiative. This initiative is working together with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation for the NHL Water Restoration Project
The Bonneville Environmental Foundation wants to reduce water usage in the Pacific Northwest and is currently looking to expand to include states such as Washington, California, Colorado, and New Mexico. This organization aims to conserve water by encouraging water certificates. Each of these certificates is “worth” 1,000 gallons of water, and has it’s own serial number. Each certificate is then sold to individuals and businesses for one dollar. The money is then spent to encourage consumers to reduce their water use. The NHL recently incorporated use of these water certificates for their 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, which is the first “water neutral” series in the history of the NHL.
This new program will be used to restore almost one million gallons of water to the Deschutes River, located between Bend, Oregon and Lake Billy Chinook. This is a world-class destination for various sportsmen and tourists. Unfortunately for the aquatic organisms as well as potential recreationalists, a significant volume of the water that would flow down the Deschutes River is diverted for “commercial” and “economic” use. As a result of the excess withdrawals, there has been a significant decrease in water quality as well as the health of aquatic organisms.
The NHL is proud to be the first major sports entity to participate in the Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s certificate program, as well as the first such organization to make a large push towards water conservation and sustainability. Many players in the NHL began playing hockey on ice ponds, so they feel the need to promote environmental sustainability or the future generations will only read about ice ponds in books, and hear about them in stories from their parents.
Brian O’Neill

The truth about bottled water

The bottled water industry has been growing steadily since it began, and environmentalists are still fighting to prevent the use of wasteful bottled water. Companies such as Aquafina (Pepsi), Dasani (Coke), Perrier (Nestle), Evian, and Fiji Water all sell bottled water at prices much higher than the costs of tap water—sometimes up to 2,000 times more than tap water costs. Bottled water companies are able to do this by convincing consumers that tap water is somehow not as “good” as bottled water. Whether companies use descriptive adjectives to label their water, or they print a serene mountain on the label, the water is almost always the same.

Not only is bottled water supposedly cleaner than tap water, but it is also marketed as convenient. I’m not sure what is convenient about driving to the store and spending 2,000 times more money than I should for something that flows out of my faucet and is just as good, but that is just my opinion. I would rather grab a reusable bottle off of my shelf and run out the door than worry about buying more plastic bottles and hoping they are recycled.

This past July, The United Nations declared water a fundamental human right, and thus it should not be commercialized. By allowing multinational corporations to invade a region, “buy” the water, and then re-sell it to residents, prices skyrocket and often low-income families simply cannot afford the water.

Brian O’Neill

Simple water conservation tips for your home

There are many quick and easy ways to save water around your home. Some of these ways even serve dual-purposes of water conservation as well as maintenance and upkeep. For example, wrapping your pipes with insulation serves to both protect pipes from cracking in the cold as well as reduce the amount of water you use while waiting for hot water. Some conservation measures also serve multiple purposes such as reducing the amount of water wasted, and reducing the amount of energy needed to heat that water.
Leaks: To check your home for leaks, check your water meter while no water is being used. Record the number on your water meter, and then check it again after a few hours. If the number has changed without anybody using water, you have a leak somewhere. The solution for this can be as simple as replacing the gasket in a leaky faucet, or as difficult as replacing a leaking pipe inside a wall.
Piping: Insulate all exposed pipes in your house and outside. By insulating interior pipes, you will reduce the amount of time you must run appliances before you get hot water. By insulating outdoor pipes, you will protect them from cracks in extreme weather, and prevent potentially expensive fixes.
Toilets: If you do not already use a water-efficient toilet, you should buy one. If that is out of your budget, you can fill some water bottles with water, sand, or gravel and place them in your toilet’s tank. This displaces water so that you use less water each time you flush your toilet.
Showerheads: If your shower has not been retrofit recently, you likely have a high water using showerhead. You can test this by placing a five-gallon bucket under the showerhead. If it takes fewer than two minutes to fill, you should replace your showerhead with a new one.
Sinks: One of the most common ways people waste water in sinks is by leaving the water running. You should simply turn off the water while you shave or brush your teeth. If you would like to conserve even more water, consider replacing the aerator with a low-flow version that uses as little as 0.5 gallons per minute.
For more tips on water conservation, please visit http://www.waterwise-consulting.com
Brian O’Neill

reducing pool wastewater

Here are some ways to reduce the amount of water wasted in swimming pools:
Use a pool cover: Pool covers can reduce evaporation by up to 90 to 95%. Without a pool cover, almost half of the water you pump into your pool can evaporate if you are in a hot and arid climate.
Lower the water level: By lowering the water level, you reduce the amount of water that is splashed onto the pool deck. Keep the water level 1” above the pool tiles to prevent excess splashing.
Backwash pool filters only when necessary: Backwashing pool filters uses a significant amount of water. You can reduce the frequency of backwashing by keeping your pool filters clean and free of debris.
Poolside landscaping: Strategically landscape around your pool to reduce the amount of sun that hits it. By planting tall shrubs and other plants around your pool, you can shade the water and less water will evaporate.
Monitor your energy and water bills: By monitoring your bills, you will know if a leak forms. Water bills tend to follow seasonal fluctuations, so you should not have a spike in water use during cool winter months.
Lower the temperature of your pool: By lowering the temperature of your pool, you reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation.
Brian O’Neill

Water levels in California reservoirs

While most people know about the mandated 20% reduction in water use recently, how many people knows if this was effective or not? What is the effect of using 20% less water?
According to the California Department of Natural Resources, the water levels in eight out of twelve California reservoirs are at or above historical averages. This means that the reservoirs hold at least the same-if not more water-than the average amount they have held previously. In other words, eight out of twelve reservoirs have more water now than they have had when their prior levels are averaged.
Does this mean that we can use more water, since we have more water in the reservoirs? Definitely not. While it is undoubtedly a good sign for California water resources, it is by no means a green light to waste water. We must still conserve water because our reservoirs can only last so long before they literally dry up in the event of a drought or other natural disaster. As with any other natural resource, they are greatly influenced by natural events and as such should never be taken for granted. We should take this time as Californians to appreciate the water we have, while we still have it. Since we cannot definitively predict the future, we have no way of knowing how much water will be available in the coming years. If we drain our reservoirs now, what happens if there is not enough water available in future years?
In order to be safe, we must conserve water while we can. By lessening our impact on California’s water resources, we can together continue to thrive without worrying about where our next water supply will be.
To view information on California’s reservoir levels, please visit:
Brian O’Neill