Clean drinking (potable) water is one of those resources that humans, and most other living beings, cannot do without. Yet most of us grew up thinking that potable water was a limitless resource. The truth is that although potable water is a renewable resource, we can make it non-renewable by some of our actions.
Potable water on Hilton Head Island is supplied to us by private wells or Public Service Districts (PSDs). In the past, most of our water was drawn from a large underground aquifer, the Floridan Aquifer, which we shared with many communities, including Savannah and Brunswick, Georgia. Due to too much water being withdrawn from this aquifer, we now have areas that are allowing salt water from the environment to leak into the aquifer; wells in these areas are no longer usable. Many of us now get our drinking water from the Savannah River, via a pipeline installed by Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority.
- According to the Public Service Districts (PSDs), we use about 60% of our potable water for irrigation of landscape. Using the seven principles of xeriscape can greatly reduce that usage. To learn all about xeriscape, visit Clemson University's Cooperative Extension website at www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/other/landscaping/.
- Always have a rain gauge on your irrigation system. This helps to conserve water used for irrigation during wet weather.
- Inside your home, don't run the tap while brushing your teeth or hand-washing dishes. Try and shorten shower times and/or install low-flow shower heads. Run the dishwasher and clothes washer only when you have a full load. If you are replacing an appliance that uses water, shop around for the one with the lowest water usage.
- Remember that the only thing that should go down storm drains is stormwater. Most of these storm drains run to a surface water body.
- Don't flush left over medicines or personal care products. Save them and bring them to the hazardous household waste roundups at the Convenience Center for proper disposal.
For lots of other information on water conservation, visit www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/Publications/50_ways_to_save_water.php