Water Conservation and Your Backyard Pond

The water crisis in the world has escalated. In the past few decades, water has become scarcer and more necessary than ever before. We always thought it was a never ending resource that would be available whenever and wherever we wanted it. We diverted water from rivers to provide irrigation for fields, we diverted more so growing cities could have drinking water and even more so the people of those cities could wash their cars and water their lawns. We thought nothing of wasting water because there was an endless supply. Now we know there is not.

Now we find ourselves in a global water crisis. Cities and countries have massive water-availability problems. And increasingly, our water is so polluted we cannot use it until we spend millions of dollars to treat it. Many of us do not even drink our tap water. We buy bottled water at prices higher than gasoline.

In the United States, many communities have enacted regulations governing residents' use of water. Some people can water their lawns once a week or wash their cars only on alternate Saturdays. In other countries water is restricted completely, so no water can be used outside the house. People are learning to recycle their gray water, the water that is used in for showering or doing dishes, so they can use it on their gardens. Recycling gray water is a great idea, but illegal in some parts of America.

Most of us, when faced with a global crisis, say, "There's nothing one person can do, so I will just ignore it." But there is something you can do. You can still have a magnificent landscape without overusing water. If you think that having a pond is a water-consuming hobby, you are wrong. It takes very little water to top off a pond. It takes hundreds of gallons of water to keep a lawn green.

Isn't it wonderful that you can be an environmentalist and conservationist in such a rewarding way?

We pond people have ways to deal with our water concerns as well. If your waterfall is huge, high and wide, you are not only losing water to evaporation and probably splashing, but also spending at least $100.00 monthly, probably more, to keep your pump running. You can save money and electricity by having a bubbler rather than a huge waterfall. A bubbler is simply a short tube attached to your pump that shoots water out of the top. It doesn't go all that high, but is usually fairly wide, so it makes a great noise.

For more water noise, you can use a piece of statuary, usually called a -"spitter." It's an awful name for any piece of statuary that is or can be plumbed so water enters the bottom and comes out the top. They make a pleasant water noise and do not need a huge pump. Spitters can be bronze, plastic, concrete, resin or brass. Prices range from $19.95 to thousands of dollars, depending on what you want and can afford.

Other pump options are available now that were not in previous years. Most companies are producing more energy-efficient pumps in these days of conservation and educated consumers. After all, they don't want to lose your business. A general rule for buying pumps: The more a pump costs, the less electricity it uses.

Solar-powered pumps are coming into their own. They have been available in Europe for years but finally are being marketed in America. Pond lights, pond pumps and oxygenators can now be powered by solar energy. I sell them and they are being used successfully. Check them out. You may be pleasantly surprised and your cost of use is zero.

Most folks have a huge expanse of green lawn that they take great pleasure in. They use chemicals on it to rid it of weeds, they put fertilizer on it to make it grow, water it to make it tall and lush and then every week they use lawn mowers, edgers and blowers to cut it down. While lawns can be beautiful, can we really afford to waste all that water and gasoline? Can we continue to pollute our ground water with all those chemicals? Can we justify the noise pollution of all those machines?

The water-garden industry is responding to our water and energy crises. Let's do our part to respond as well. Enlarge your pond and decrease your lawn size. Use solar pumps and solar lights. Put a timer on your pump. Everything you do really will help.

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