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Be Hydro-Smart! This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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When you turn on the tap, it runs; when you step into the shower, you get wet; when you use the toilet, it flushes; when you need ice, it tumbles from the refrigerator. But have you ever stopped to wonder where this water comes from?

Today, fresh water is so readily available that we often take it for granted. Most people know that water is composed of two elements, hydrogen and oxygen, and is the only substance that occurs naturally in three forms – solid, liquid, and gas. However, most are not too hydro-smart beyond that.

For starters, although 80 percent of Earth's surface is water, only one percent of that is fresh water available for our needs, including drinking, irrigation, manufacturing, and more. Another interesting tidbit is that the water on Earth is as old as the planet itself! Because it is constantly recycled, we may very well be drinking the same water the dinosaurs did.

Water is vital to the existence of life; it not only regulates the planet's temperature by acting as a natural insulator, but it normalizes the temperature of the human body, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, cushions joints, protects organs and tissues, and removes waste. Water may well be the most important tool for survival; if stranded, animals can live for weeks without food but only a few days without water.

Human civilization and all life on earth depends on water, yet this vital resource faces very serious risks. One of the most costly and major challenges is pollution. Since everything in nature is interconnected, and water recycles itself through streams and lakes by filtering through layers of soil and rock, it absorbs and dissolves the substances it touches. What we pour on the ground mixes with our water, and what we spew into the sky eventually integrates into water supplies as well.

Here in Athens County, Ohio, like so many other urban and rural communities, we live directly above our groundwater resources. Factory discharge, chemicals applied to farmland, pesticides and herbicides used in yards, drain cleaners, and detergents are all pollutants that can affect the quality of the water we drink. What we do above the ground adversely ­affects the water below.

Groundwater is an important natural resource that needs to be managed and cared for. Here is a to-do list for hydro-smart citizens to take a more active role in protecting and preserving groundwater.

• Take short showers to save water.

• Reduce the use of chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides on lawns.

• Use environmentally friendly household detergents, including baking soda mixed with vinegar and salt.

• Responsibly dispose of mobile phones, printer cartridges, outdated computers and monitors, and batteries.

If everyone contributes just a little each day, our groundwater can be preserved and kept clean. Be hydro-smart so that future generations will also be able to marvel at drinking the same water as the dinosaurs.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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Hydro-Smarty said...
Feb. 2, 2010 at 4:10 pm:
This is a great article. Well researed and educational. Hope everyone will become hydro-smart as you are. Good job
 
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