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Conserving Water: How One Hotel Saved Three Million Gallons of Water

San Francisco’s Intercontinental Hotel is the largest hotel in California to earn Gold Status under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for existing buildings from the U.S. Green Building Council. One of the most important ways it was able to earn this coveted status was by conserving water throughout the hotel’s operations.

The hotel had several water conservation options available—from replacing toilets in all the guest rooms and installing systems that consume less water to replacing heating and air-conditioning systems that use water more efficiently. However, these steps would be costly, disruptive, and likely impact hotel guests. So, the Intercontinental Hotel decided to look for steps that would be easy to implement, cost effective, and still produce a considerable reduction in water consumption.

In other words, they were in search of the “low-hanging fruit” when it came to conserving water and what they came up with was nothing less than phenomenal. They decided to install aerators throughout the hotel’s hundreds of sinks and faucets. In 2010, aerators – which are surprisingly cost effective – were installed in all 550 guest rooms of the 32-story property, in the main kitchen, as well as staff hand-washing stations. Continue reading

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When Clean Really Matters – Hospital Standards

With the risk of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI’s), a clean patient room is more important than ever. A person’s definition of “clean” can be a subjective one; however, in the health care industry, there is a clean standard that must be followed to insure a sense of comfort and quality for the patient. When a patient is admitted into the hospital, it is far from home, but the least a health care facility can do is provide their patients with a clean and welcoming environment. You may be wondering, what all should a health care facility do to meet this cleaning standard? The list below is a guide recommended by an experienced cleaning contractor that may be helpful for a health care facility cleaning staff. Continue reading

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How To Properly Wipe Clean a Surface

If there is a mess, your first thought is to grab a cleaner and a rag to clean it up, but did you know that when you spray chemicals onto a surface and proceed to wipe the area down with a rag, you are emitting harmful chemicals and V.O.C.’s into the air. V.O.C.s are volatile organic compounds. VOC’s are emitted gases into the air from liquid and aerosol products. These harmful gases can cause short-term and long term health effects. However, there is a way to prevent this issue. By changing your cleaning routine, you can clean your surfaces in an efficient and safe way. Damp wiping is a procedure that involves spraying the sponge or cloth with your desired cleaning chemical and wipe in a consistent pattern; up and down or back and forth. A microfiber cloth will give you the best results for this process. This will ensure that you cover the entire area. Damp wiping is the most effective solution for surfaces need a light cleaning such as a desktop or countertop. Damp wiping is also is a great option when chemical residue should be limited such as phone and drinking fountains.

If you have a large area to clean up, spray and wipe will be your best option. To do this, spray the surface you want cleaned with your desired product and continue to wipe with your cloth or rag. If using a disinfectant product, make sure you allow an ample amount of contact time to ensure optimal results. We also recommend that you use a foaming trigger sprayer on vertical surfaces. The foam will cling to surfaces better and penetrate the germ fighting chemicals into cracks and crevices.

See our Video below on how to properly spray and wipe and damp wipe a surface.

 

John-ReedJohn Reed is the Director of Sustainability and Training for Betco Corporation®, Toledo, Ohio. He has over 35 years of experience in the cleaning industry. In the past 10 years John has presented over 300 green cleaning seminars to distribution and end users concerning how to make facilities more sustainable. For any questions please contact welisten@betco.com.

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Don’t be THAT Person During Flu Season

germ-hand-pictureWhen the flu season strikes, nobody wants to be known as the person that has passed along the flu to everyone in the office. It’s a reputation nobody wants to have; however, it is a hard one to avoid. Many times, we don’t even know that we are carrying a flu virus; symptoms may go unnoticed when you are the most contagious. So, how do you prevent passing along the pesky flu that nobody wants? Here are a few tips and tricks that might keep you from being “That” person.

Be Conscientious- If you are ill, let that be known when greeting people as to why you refuse to shake their hand. A simple, “excuse me for not shaking hands, I have a terrible cold” will suffice. The people you encounter will appreciate your consideration of them.

Keep your distance. If you are the sick one keep your distance from people. No hugging or close interaction that might cause germs to spread.

Cough and sneeze into the bend in your arm or into a tissue, not in your hands. This will keep your hands a little more germ free for when an unexpected handshake or interaction occurs.

Sanitize your desk, computer, keys and phone regularly. Your desk and work area is a germ infestation! Keeping the things we touch cleaned throughout the day is a big help. A general disinfectant can usually do the trick. Anytime you might touch something that is contaminated, make sure you wipe it down with a disinfectant and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Throw away used tissues after using them once. Don’t leave them laying around for others to pick up and throw away. Especially, don’t leave them on tables where someone else would have to dispose of them. They don’t want your germs either.

Keep a box of tissues and hand sanitizer on your desk at work. It is always smart to have extra on hand. Others can use them if they feel a sneeze or cough coming on. Make sure you sanitize your hands as soon as you are finished using a tissue.

Have some illness guidelines for employees. Be smart. Encourage employees to stay home if they are acutely ill or have a fever. If someone has a fever, it means they are still contagious. This will reduce the spread of illness throughout an organization.

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Justin is the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Betco.

If you have any questions, please visit http://www.betco.com, call (888) GO-BETCO or please contact us at welisten@betco.com.

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Degreaser Power: Making Commercial Kitchen Floorcare Safer and More Effective

Most cleaning professionals know that all areas of a facility do not necessarily have to be cleaned every visit. In fact, it is very common to split facilities into quadrants, giving each quadrant special attention on one night with the others waiting their turn during the week.

However, this rarely applies to restaurants. While they may have some days that are busier than others, invariably restaurants need a thorough cleaning each and every night. One of the areas that are most important is the floor. A big problem in cleaning commercial kitchen floors is the fact that even if grease and oil are not spilled directly on the floor, the mist from cooking oil can blanket the floor with a slick film. Continue reading

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Air movers: Doing Away with “Dead Air”

Some cleaning professionals and carpet cleaning techs may not be familiar with “dead air”. Dead air can occur while waiting for a floor finish or carpet to dry. Dead air refers to a condition when there is absolutely no air movement in a room after the floor has been finished or the carpet cleaned, thus the name. But the big problem with dead air is that it can increase drying times significantly.

We probably should be clear about what we mean by air movers. These are not household fans. Nor are they the large round fans also used in professional cleaning, typically employed when air movement is needed throughout a large space. We don’t want to use these large fans because they may cause the dust and debris on light fixtures and high ledges to become airborne…and potentially landing and marring a freshly finished floor.

Continue reading

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Is Your Floor Stripper In Hot Water? Should It Be?

Recently our Technical Services Manager, Barry Rosenthal had a question regarding floor strippers: Why is it that some of Betco’s floor strippers are recommended to dilute with cool water and others with hot water? 

Clearly, one of the factors of cleaning is temperature (others are time, agitation and chemical) so most assume that increasing the temperature must improve the performance of the floor stripper. Not always, certain strippers have chemicals which have a lower flash point. Using hot water causes these ingredients to flash off prematurely, actually diminishing the performance of the floor stripper. However, performance is not the only reason for cool water, Betco’s Green Floor Strippers must be diluted with cool water to reduce the energy consumption of using hot water.

Recommended temperatures for Betco Floor Strippers: Continue reading

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How to Kill Floor Finishing Profits

Stanley Quentin Hulin, a frequent writer for the professional cleaning industry since 1975 recounts a true story of floor finishing misery. As Hulin describes, a job was recently completed in twelve hours … but it had been budgeted for eight. When the supervisor asks the lead technician to explain the extra time, he hears “that everything was going fine up until it was time to apply the floor finish. “Man, it took forever [for the floor finish] to dry, there was nothing else we could do.” The result – a disappointing loss of profit.

According to Hulin, the hard-floor maintenance industry is extremely competitive with requests for proposals fairly common. Many cleaning contractors “jockey for position” he says to get these lucrative contracts. He goes on to say that many contractors have a problem even if they win their bids because they are based “on optimum conditions and the most aggressive productivity rates.” They neglect to consider vital but unpredictable time factors, particularly the length of time it takes for a floor finish to dry (drying time). Continue reading

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Developing a Floor Cleaning and Maintenance Program

Most cleaning experts suggest that facility managers have a floor cleaning and maintenance program to help make sure floors stay clean and safe throughout the year. The plan might list, among other things, when and how often floors are to be cleaned, scrubbed, and refinished.

However, there are many variables that must be considered before developing a floor cleaning and maintenance program. The following are some key questions facility managers need to address before instituting a floor maintenance program.

What is the budget?

A floor cleaning and maintenance program can be costly. The first step in determining costs is to know how many square feet of flooring will need to be cleaned and how often. Many times, an astute janitorial contractor can help a facility manger develop a budget for floor maintenance.

How important is the floor?

Some floors, like a lobby floor, are more important than others because they contribute to a customer or user’s first impression of the facility. Other floors may require less attention because they are not in customer areas. Determine which floors are the most important and budget resources accordingly.

What is the current condition of the floor? Continue reading

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Going Green in the Hotel Hospitality Industry

The hotel and hospitality industry is at the forefront of the going green movement when it comes to green cleaning. In fact, it was one of the first industries to embrace green cleaning and now many other industries look to the hotel hospitality industry to help them in their own transfer to green cleaning systems and strategies.

One of the reasons the “going green” movement started in the hotel and hospitality industry was due to a result of hotel housekeepers complaining about having reactions to some of the traditional chemicals used for cleaning. Remember, many housekeepers use these chemicals for as much as ten hours every day. In one Florida hotel property, housekeepers reported “runny eyes” within an hour or two of working each day when using certain chemicals. This stopped when environmentally preferable cleaning chemicals were substituted. Continue reading

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Discover the Benefits of Day Cleaning

Day cleaning, or cleaning during first shift, is becoming more and more popular and for good reasons. It is touted as a sensible way to save on energy costs and being sustainable. Industry consultants predict that within 10 years, day cleaning will be more common than traditional nighttime cleaning.

The biggest reason to clean during daylight hours, rather than in the evenings, is the energy savings from no longer needing to illuminate and heat or cool the space being cleaned.

There are also a number of staffing benefits resulting from day cleaning, including: Continue reading

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The Lost Art of Spray Buffing

Floor care is one of the most time consuming and costly of all cleaning tasks. When the floor needs to be stripped and refinished, these costs can mount up fast. It is not the tools and equipment that are the main contributor to this cost, it is the labor. Any system or program that cleaning professionals can implement to delay refinishing cycles while still keeping their customers’ floors looking their best can prove to be a significant cost savings.

A system that works very well for floors in which a low maintenance floor finish has been applied is by using a “low-speed buffer” to spray-buff the floor.  A low-speed buffer typically rotates at 175 RPMs. Spray buffing is not as common today as it once was. One reason for this is that the finish applied to many floors today is a high-speed finish.  Usually all that is required is for the floor to be dust mopped or vacuumed, scrubbed clean and then burnished with a high-speed machine.

However, according to the Betco U’s free training guide, The Life Cycle of Floor Care, spray buffing can prove very effective at helping delay refinishing cycles.

So what is spray buffing? Continue reading

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Why Wash Your Hands with Dirty Soap?

Keep in mind…

Millions of people during their daily routines use refillable (bulk) soap dispensers to wash their hands, so think about this … every time someone washes their hands with soap from a refillable dispenser, are they putting their health at risk?

Why wash your hands with dirty soap?

Studies have shown that bacteria levels found in bulk soap dispensers were in concentrations levels higher than what industry standards deem as “safe”:

Causes are:

  • Inadequate cleaning – Germs grow inside the dispenser because they do not get properly cleaned or sanitized every time they are refilled
  • Airborne and environmental contaminants can land in the open container
  • Opening dispensers to refill soap in unsanitary reservoir, such as a restroom, where fecal bacteria is exposed
  • Cleaning personnel not properly dressed in PPE (personal protective equipment, such as gloves), have cleaned toilets, and then moved on to refill the dispensers
  • “Topping off” or improper refilling – new soap is tainted when coming in contact with contaminated soap
  • Diluted hand soap – companies try to save money and dilute down concentrated soap formulas

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control), recommends the storing of products as follows:

  • Liquid products should be stored in closed containers and dispensed from either disposable containers, or containers that are washed and dried thoroughly before refilling
  • Soap should not be added to a partially empty dispenser because this practice of “topping off” might lead to bacterial contamination of soap and negate the beneficial effect of hand cleaning and disinfection

Hand hygiene is the single MOST IMPORTANT way to reduce the transmission of germs from person to person that can cause infections.

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Krysten Comperchio is a Product Manager for Skin Care and Education at Betco Corporation. During her spare time, Krysten enjoys yoga, running and keeping up on current events. Click here to contact Krysten directly.

Have any questions? Contact us at welisten@betco.com.

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Cold and Flu Season – Health Advisory Alert.

Cold and Flu Season – Health Advisory Alert, Stay Safe! Wash Your Hands!

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) suggests samples taken from current reported flu cases shows the current flu vaccine may not be a good match for this season’s flu strain circulating the US.

The US health agency issued an advisory to doctors noting these samples showed that just under half of these samples were a good match for the influenza A (H3N2) component contained in flu shots for the 2014-2015 season, suggests the virus has drifted.  According to the CDC, the flu season has been low but increasing with the Influenza A (H3N2) being the predominant strain with cases detected all over the US. Continue reading

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Green Floorcare Means No Weak Links

Several years ago, Dr. Greg Norris of the Harvard School of Public Health, made a startling observation when it comes to green floors and green floorcare. He concluded that many green floors while designed to be sustainable and reduce a facility’s environmental foot print, may lose all of these benefits the first time they are cleaned, stripped, or refinished using conventional floorcare products such as cleaners, restorers, strippers, and floor finishes. Continue reading

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High Touch Areas: Why Keeping High Touch Areas Clean is Important

When it comes to effective cleaning in school facilities, what most people think about first is the restrooms. In fact, studies have found that parents, when visiting a college or university their son or daughter is considering, invariably visit the restrooms to examine their cleanliness. The reasoning is: clean restrooms mean a well-run school; poorly maintained restrooms, and the impression is, shall we say, far different.

However, many people are often unaware of the most important areas that need proper cleaning; these places are known in the professional cleaning industry as high touch areas. We’ve all seen them but probably have never heard them called this before. Continue reading

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Effective Floorcare Starts with Daily Maintenance

According to the Betco U Certification Program, there are three components to floorcare: daily maintenance, interim care, and restorative care. Of the three, daily maintenance is probably the most important. Not only does daily maintenance help keep the floor looking its very best every day, but properly performed, it can delay interim and restorative floorcare, which are typically more costly and more labor intensive.

So what does daily floorcare entail?

The tools typically used for daily maintenance include buckets, mops, dust mops, dust pans, and a putty knife to remove such things as gum and grit that may stick to the floor. As to the mopping of the floor, it should be performed using a figure 8 technique. A figure 8 motion overlaps floor areas and helps ensure all floor areas are mopped clean. Continue reading

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Ten Ways to Protect Your Hands This Winter Season

With winter right around the corner, Betco®, a leading manufacturer of professional cleaning, disinfecting, floor care, and skin care products, reminds those in the professional cleaning and building management industries that now is the time to start thinking about hand care.

“The dry, cold weather can really damage the skin on your hands,” says Lindsay Tippin, Betco marketing coordinator. “It’s important to start moisturizing before this happens to prevent discomfort that can take weeks to heal.” Tippin also notes that dry chapped hands can evolve into hand dermatitis, a disease that can be very serious, even result in a visit to the emergency room if the condition worsens. Continue reading

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Water Conservation Starts in the Restroom

The state of California is rationing water. Some experts believe California will be just the first of several states that restrict the amount of water that both consumers and businesses may use. The bottom line is this: Demand for water in much of the southwestern portion of the United States has outstripped supply. A large portion of this water—as much as 70 percent and more in some areas—is slated for farmers. Government administrators are in the uncomfortable position of needing to determine who gets what water: farmers, consumers, businesses, etc.

What is true for everyone, however, is that we are all going to have to start conserving—and start fast. And the first place businesses, schools, and all commercial facilities should look when it comes to conserving water is in the restrooms. This was confirmed in a study by WaterSense®, a partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which found that in U.S. buildings, water is consumed in the following key areas:

  • Kitchen areas: 13 percent
  • Miscellaneous: 10 percent
  • Irrigation and landscaping: 22 percent
  • Cooling and heating: 28 percent
  • Restrooms (toilets, urinals, and sinks): 37 percent1

Continue reading

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Cold and Flu Season 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that each year 164 million school days are lost due to illness. (Source: CDC 2014)

Resources and Facts on Cold and Flu Season:

What are the differences between cold symptoms and flu symptoms?

Cold and flu symptoms can overlap each other. If you’re trying to determine if  you have a cold or flu, see the following:

What are the symptoms of a cold?

Cold symptoms can last from 2 days to 2 weeks, most people recover in 1 week to 10 days. Symptoms of the common cold usually begin 2 to 3 days after infection and include:

  • Sore throat
  • Mucus build up in your nose
  • Difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Swelling of your sinuses
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
 What are the symptoms of the flu?

The flu comes on suddenly, though people can host the flu virus for 1-4 days before symptoms begin to emerge. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills*
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)

* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

What resources can be used to track cold and flu season?

You can track the flu virus on the website for The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC collects, compiles and analyses information on influenza activity year round in the United States and produces a weekly report from October through mid-May.

You can track the influenza virus and the current flu season by clicking here.

Peak Season for Cold and Flu Activity:

Flu timing is unpredictable and varies from season to season. Flu activity begins as early as October and continues through late May.  Flu activity peaks in the United States in January or February.

The 2014-2015 influenza vaccine is made to protect against the following three viruses:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A(H3N2) virus antigenically like the cell-propagated prototype virus A/Victoria/361/2011;
  • a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.

How Should You Wash Your Hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

Check out the CDC website for the following links:

How to Wash Your Hands

When to Use Hand Sanitizer

Focus on cleaning key touchpoints in your schools and stay a step ahead of the k-12 clean standard with Betco’s CleanDegrees Program.

Betco CleanDegrees Education Program helps K-12 facilities understand and incorporate the “Science Behind Cleanand identify the key “touch points” within their facilities, while staying compliant with the newly established K-12 Clean Standard.

Schools that adopt the cleaning and education program will achieve a reduction in germs and bacteria on key touch point areas such as desktops, water fountains, lockers and restroom sinks by utilizing Betco’s ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) meter system, reducing absenteeism and ensuring a clean and healthy environment for students and faculty.

 Link for the K-12 Clean Standard:

Link for the Betco Clean Degrees Program:

 

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Krysten Comperchio is a Product Manager for Skin Care and Education at Betco Corporation. During her spare time, Krysten enjoys yoga, running and keeping up on current events. Click here to contact Krysten directly.

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Starve a Cold

During cold and flu season, how do you starve a cold? …. WASH YOUR HANDS!

Fact is…

  • Antibiotics cannot treat a cold or flu virus
  • Washing your hands is the best way to prevent the transmission of a cold, flu and other germs/pathogens
  • The common cold causes more absenteeism and time off work and school than any other illness
  • iStock_000012840411SmallGerms can survive up to 3 hours in your nasal passages
  • The first few days of having a cold are the most contagious
  • There is no cure for the common cold – Why? There are more than 200+ different viruses that can produce a cold
  • Most adults suffer from 2 to 3 colds per year, children 4 to 8, children in school attendance up to 12
  • Children and the elderly catch colds more often because they lack a resistance to infections
  • It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open!

So what can you do to prevent this?

WASH YOUR HANDS!

Here’s how:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. Do not use your pant leg or clothing, harbors germs/bacteria!
  • Use hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available

 

Betco® offers a complete line of skin care products to protect you and your hands from cold and flu season. Our products are formulated to maintain good skin health without dryness or irritation.

 

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Krysten Comperchio is a Product Manager for Skin Care and Education at Betco Corporation. During her spare time, Krysten enjoys yoga, running and keeping up on current events. Click here to contact Krysten directly.

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The Cost of Water: Why It Keeps Going Up

The cost of water keeps going up as most facility managers know.  In fact, in many cases, the cost of water is going up significantly, with even higher costs anticipated in the future. For instance, in Chicago, the cost of water went up an average of 25 percent in 2012, and plans are now being discussed to double rates in 2015.

So why is the cost of water escalating so fast? After all, historically it has been one of our least expensive natural resources in the United States. However, water has typically been underpriced for decades. Utility companies are now trying to adjust charges so that they better reflect the actual costs to collect, store, and deliver water to consumers.

But there are other reasons as well. According to engineers Willa Kuh and Fred Betz with Affiliated Engineers, the following are seven other reasons why the cost of water is going up in the United States: Continue reading

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Serious Water Concerns Require Smart Solutions

Water concerns throughout the United States are mounting!

According to an August 2014 article published in National Geographic Magazine, groundwater, also known as aquifers, provide us with freshwater that makes up for surface water now being lost from drought-depleted lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. “[But] we are drawing down these hidden, mostly nonrenewable groundwater supplies at unsustainable rates in the western United States and in several dry regions globally, threatening our future,” warns Dennis Dimick National Geographic’s Executive Editor for the Environment.

What’s happening is that we are turning to groundwater to make up for the water normally collected due to rainfall events, which is used for drinking water, irrigation for landscaping and farming, and most all of the other ways we use water every day. However, Dimick goes on to say that while we are doing this, groundwater supplies nationwide have been depleted “dramatically since 2000.”  Continue reading