In the movie, Temple Grandin is depicted as observing a rendering plant and saw a cow being killed… her response was “Where did it go? It was there and now it’s not.” That may not be a totally accurate quote for what the director had the actress say but it stuck in my mind and often I think of how it applies to other things.
For instance: Early in the year a garden gang member was looking at my flower beds which had perennials coming up and had lots of mulch in the bed. She said, “Your are going to clean that up, aren’t you? When I said no she wanted to know why. So I pointed out the plants coming up and said that in about 30 days you won’t be able to see it and in the fall it will be gone. Her response was, “Where does it go?” When I explained that it decomposes and the worms eat it she said with some surprise, “so that is where my mulch goes”. Yep
Then I think about applying it to water… when it rains, where does it go? Is water a resource or a problem to be drained away. In Louisiana it has been a problem last week but here in Colorado it is a resource that we need to keep. We need to think more about where that rain water goes. So when it rains at your house where does it go? When you water your lawn with a sprinkler, where does it go?
Find out by going out and watching the water that comes off your house or comes out of your sprinklers. If the sprinklers are watering the side walk and the driveway it is not going to help grow any more concrete but it is water that you are paying for that is going to the gutter. If there is rain water coming off your roof and running down your driveway or side walk the same thing is happening.
Fix the sprinkler and control the rain water run off to spread it over your grass, collect in a rain barrel (2 fifty-five gal barrels per household), make a rain garden that collects and uses it, direct the water to another part of the yard to grow plants, flowers, bushes, etc. Improve your soil so that it will hold more water. Cover the soil with mulch or plants so that it doesn’t heat up or dry out. Remember that a roof that is 1000 sq ft in surface will collect 623 gals of water from a 1 inch rain. Think what you can do with that? It won’t fit in the two barrels so you need extra planning.
Think about this also…. 70% of water pollution is caused by run off. Where does it go? Into streams, sewer systems, water treatment systems and if it goes to the Platt River that pollution goes with it. Those people who are downstream of us will have that stuff in their water. Half of that pollution is caused by what we do on our lawns…..so when you spray herbicides or pesticides on your lawn where does it go? Maybe you might want to learn what happens at one city in California that is having their water contaminated by runoff from farms. Here’s the link below.
Before you go please consider doing this.. Before pouring anything on the ground or down the toilet or down the sink ask yourself where it goes? Come up with an answer and figure out if what you were thinking about doing is part of the problem or part of the solution. Remember that water bill? Get a calculator or an engineer and figure out how much you are paying per gallon for your water. Now figure out what it costs to buy water in plastic bottles that end up in the oceans. Oh, and when someone tosses something out the car window because they are finished with it, where does it go?