As a Community, there are many things that can be done to protect the water quality of lakes and streams.
- Protecting Groundwater and Surface Water Quality
- Specific Ways of Ensuring Groundwater Sustainability
- Organize a lake or river clean-up and celebration event in your community. The website Watershed Activities to Encourage Restoration http://www.watershedactivities.com/ is a compilation of simple, low-cost projects that your community can use to help protect and restore your water resources. Also see the Adopt-A-River Program of the Minnesota Department of Resources http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/adoptriver/index.html.
- Establish sound land use planning practices that promote development. This practice limits the amount of impervious surface area and protects natural areas, especially wetlands and shorelands. Also consider working to make building and zoning changes that protect lakes, rivers and wetlands. More information about protecting water quality and low impact development can be found on the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District websitehttp://www.minnehahacreek.org/lid.php.
- Promote the creation of a buffer zone along the shoreline of lakes, rivers and wetlands. The Minnesota Shoreland Management Resource Guide http://www.shorelandmanagement.org/has information about sustainable shoreland practices to improve management of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.
- Work with a lake association to promote clean water. Minnesota Watershttp://www.minnesotawaters.org/ is an organization that works with lake and river groups to promote responsible stewardship of our water resources by engaging citizens, local and state policymakers, and other partners in the protection and restoration of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.
- Educate your community about the proper disposal of pharmaceuticals and sponsor a medicine collection day. Find more information on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s website http://www.pca.state.mn.us/waste/hhw/pharmaceuticals.html.
Specific Ways of Ensuring Groundwater Sustainability
There are a lot of ways you can conserve groundwater and work toward sustainability. Here are some tips that reflect actions already taken or considered by cities around Minnesota:
- Adopt a pricing structure that encourages conservation and discourages waste. Eliminate any discounts for big users. Raise water fees as consumption increases. Increase summertime rates so homeowners will have an incentive to water sensibly. Use pricing as a tool to make water conservation attractive to individuals and businesses.
- Consider changes to building codes to allow, and encourage, builders to install “gray water” systems that collect water from sinks and showers for lawn irrigation.
- Pursue the re-use of treated wastewater for watering golf courses, parks and athletic fields.
- Build a consideration of groundwater availability and sustainability into every decision on new development or re-development.
- Serve tap water, not bottled water, at meetings and other public events. A lot of water is consumed in the production of bottled water.