Be Wise About Water: Would You Drink It?
Photo by Frankie Spontelli
Water is a vital resource for all living things and is sparse in Colorado. This is why conserving our water and protecting our outdoor water sources is so important. Want to be wiser with water?
Water Conservation on the Daily
While Leave No Trace is focused on exploring the outdoors, it’s important to think about conservation in our daily lives outside of outdoor recreation. There are so many ways you can conserve water in your life.
There are very tangible steps you can take, such as taking shorter showers, getting a reusable water bottle, or implementing energy efficient plumbing appliances in your home. But, you want to go beyond this and develop a water-conscious mindset.
Be mindful of all the places and times that you use water in your life and work to minimize it with purpose. Examples of this could be washing your vegetables in a bowl of water instead of using running water, re-using that water for your plants, frequent leak checks, or only running the dishwasher or laundry when you have a full load.
Outdoor Water Sources: Be Water Wise
The video below by Leave No Trace will make you think twice about what some of our outdoor products can do to water sources. Even things like biodegradable soap used by hikers and campers can pollute the water.
It is vital to always dispose of our waste (including wastewater) at least 200 feet from any water sources and wait at least 30 minutes before going into public water after applying things like sunscreen to your skin.
Public lands are a massive source of drinking water in the United States. 180 million Americans get their drinking water from National Forest lands alone. Not only are we drinking this water, wildlife and vegetation depend on it as well.
Drinking is not the only use for these water sources; they are also the places we love to hike, camp, paddle, and play on. To keep our water sources clean, we need to be mindful of what we are putting into them while we are there.
There are many products that we use while recreating that can contaminate water when used too closely or improperly. In the video, see how three common products, sunscreen, toothpaste, and biodegradable soap, effect a pure water source, and answer the question: Would You Drink It?
Polluted Water is a Problem We Can Solve
Access to water is a fundamental requirement of all life on earth. It’s also an invaluable resource for all kinds of recreational activities, from seaside picnics to kayak treks and leisurely canoeing. Bodies of water might seem impervious to human activity, but in fact the choices we make can have profound impacts on water quality and on aquatic life.
© 1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org