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NATURAL HERITAGE

Living on Karst

A Reference Guide for Landowners in Limestone Regions


Produced by the Cave Conservancy of the Virginias, June 1997



The Wise Use of Water

Conservation can be defined as:

  1. the care and protection of natural resources;
  2. The act of keeping from being damaged, lost, or wasted.

Clean water may be cheap and plentiful now, however, it may not be that way in the future. This valuable resource must be conserved and protected

Water conservation can lead to substantial savings in sewer, energy, and water bills. For homeowners with septic systems, conserving water reduces wear and tear on the system, and less energy is required for pumping well water. of water now available on the planet earth is basically the same as it has been for millions of years. The average household uses 250 gallons of this water every day. Consumption could be decreased by 15-20% without major discomfort or expense. Conservative water use habits should be encouraged and promoted throughout your watershed.

Facts about the Earth's Water

  • Approximately 80% of the earth's surface is covered with water

  • Only 1% of the earth's water is usable fresh water. The remainder is salt water (97%) and water frozen in glaciers. (2%)

  • Much of the earth's fresh water is unusable due to pollution.

  • Nature recycles water in an endless cycle.

  • Ground water is being used more quickly than ground water is recharged.

  • Water exists on earth in finite quantities. When it is polluted or wasted, "new" water to replenish our supplies cannot be created.

Making a Difference in the Community

  • Encourage local government to make water system and water quality improvements a high priority.

  • Encourage environmentally compatible development over wasteful land uses in the community.

  • Learn to recognize existing and potential water quality problems in streams and springs.

  • Bring water quality problems to the attention of the proper government officials

  • Participate in a stream or sinkhole cleanup program.

Making a Difference at Home

  • Use low-flow faucets and shower heads, reduced-flow toilet flushing equipment, and water saving appliances.

  • Check for water leaks. If the water meter dial moves while no water is being used, there is a leak.

  • Take short showers instead of full-tub baths. Avoid letting faucets run unnecessarily.

  • Fully load dish and clothes washers.

  • Wash cars only when necessary. Use a bucket and a spray nozzle to save water.

  • Go to a commercial car wash that uses water efficiently and disposes of runoff properly.

  • Water lawns during the coolest part of the day to avoid evaporation. Do not over-water.

  • Use slow watering techniques such as trickle irrigation or a soaker hose.