Yesterday was annual World Water Day, and the Indiana Water Monitoring Council (InWMC) would like to highlight some of the great things the council has been doing to promote the protection of Indiana’s water that are in line with this year’s theme of using nature-based solutions to solve our water challenges.
In Indiana and across the world, people rely on public and private water supplies to support all parts of our society. However, with projected population growth and a changing climate, our water resources face significant challenges in the future. By 2050 it’s estimated that
- Global water demands will increase by 30%
- People at risk for flooding will rise to 1.6 billion – 20% of the world population
- People living in water scarce areas will increase to 3 billion
World Water Day is about highlighting how important our safe and clean water is, and what we can do to value it into the future. One way is through nature-based solutions (NBS). NBS are innovative and cost-effective ways to supplement water infrastructure. Examples of NBS include best management practices for agriculture such as rotating crops to reduce nutrient loss, and opting for a no-till strategy to decrease soil erosion. Other examples include restoring forests, using vegetation as buffers to waterways, and conserving wetlands.
The InWMC works to foster and promote effective water conservation practices, such as nature-based solutions. Monitoring is essential to making sure solutions are working. In order to highlight current water monitoring efforts through Indiana the council recently published the Indiana Water Report. This report lists summaries and links for over 30 water monitoring efforts that are currently being done by various groups in Indiana. This report contains several examples of the diverse ways Indiana is working to install nature-based solutions, and monitor how they are improving our waterways.
If you are in a field of work or study related to water and would like to become more involved in protecting Indiana’s water consider joining one of the InWMC’s committees, joining one of the monitoring efforts highlighted in the Indiana Water Report, or becoming a contributing writer for our blog or newsletter
Even on the individual level you can take steps to protect Indiana’s water and solve water challenges with NBS. In your community you can encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to take their own steps to create nature-based solutions at home, such as creating rain gardens – an area of flowers and plants where water would normally collect. Rain gardens help decrease flooding and runoff by allowing plants to soak up and retain water, nutrients, and pollutants before it would move into a river or stream.
Hoosiers can also take other steps to protect our water and decrease flooding, runoff, and contamination in our lakes, rivers, and groundwater. Share these tips in your organization and community:
- Place a rain barrel under a downspout to collect water for lawn care
- Follow the label when using and storing cleaners, fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides, as well as when disposing of unwanted cleaners, paints, used motor oil, old gasoline, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides. Never pour household chemicals or harsh cleaners down the drain.
- Report accidental spills to IDEM’s 24-hour spill line: (888) 233-7745.
- Leave a vegetation buffer along the water’s edge if you have a waterway on your property
For more information on how to protect important water supplies:
- EPA Soak Up the Rain: Rain Gardens: https://www.epa.gov/soakuptherain/soak-rain-rain-gardens
- EPA What You Can Do To Protect Source Water: https://www.epa.gov/sourcewaterprotection/what-you-can-do-protect-source-water
For more information about World Water Day, visit the World Water Day 2018 website at http://worldwaterday.org/.