The 40 gallon water challenge

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Apparently we have a little friendly water conservation challenge going on between Kentucky and the states of Alabama and Georgia. It appears, too, that they are way ahead of Kentucky in the competition. In May each year, we bring special attention to one of our nation’s and the world’s most important natural resources--water. Water is important because we need it to survive and it’s precious because it is limited. We will never have more water on planet Earth than we do right now! As our local and world population grows, the amount of water available per person steadily decreases, putting more and more demand upon this finite resource. So, it is important for each of us to conserve and demonstrate we care about the environment.

Help the Commonwealth win the water conservation challenge by participating. Here’s how you can save 40 gallons of water a day for your county and Kentucky

Pledge now. Across the southern United States individuals are taking the 40 Gallon Challenge, a regional campaign that challenges residents to conserve at least 40 gallons of water per day. Currently, Kentucky only has two pledges, on par with Virginia and Mississippi, and well below some of the high-pledging states. You can look at each state’s pledges by rolling your cursor over the interactive map at http://www.40gallonchallenge.org. Georgia has more than 307 pledges!

On average Kentuckians use anywhere from 100 to 150 gallons of water per person, per day. To eliminate any excuses, here are some of the no-cost water-saving suggestions you can start doing today:

•Run the dishwasher only when full (saves 2 gallons)

•Turn off water in between rinsing dishes or brushing teeth (saves 5 and 8 gallons)

•Shorten showers; fill bathtub only half-full (saves 5 and 18 gallons)

•Do not use the toilet as a garbage can (saves 2 gallons)

•Reduce laundry by one load a week; wash full loads only (saves 5 gallons)

•Start a compost pile for food waste (saves 4 gallons)

•Capture water in a rain barrel for irrigation (saves 5 gallons)

•Sweep sidewalks and driveways with a broom rather than spraying with hose (saves 22 gallons)

•Limit and reduce lawn and garden irrigation (depending, can save 20-80 gallons)

•Mulch two to three inches around trees and plants (saves 25 gallons).

Taking the 40 Gallon Challenge is as simple as filling out the Pledge Card, either online at http://www.40gallonchallenge.org/ or at your local Extension office.

For more information, contact the Trimble County Cooperative Extension Service at 502-255-7188.

Michael Pyles is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for agriculture.