Archive for the ‘Green Initiatives’ CategoryJanuary 7, 2013
The Center on Sustainable Communities, Des Moines Water Works, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Metro Waste Authority and MidAmerican Energy will honor local organizations and leaders for their sustainability efforts in the Greater Des Moines area. Environmental Impact Award applications will be accepted through Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. To commemorate Earth Month, winners will be announced April 4.
Now in its third year, the Environmental Impact Awards were established to recognize organizations that exemplify environmentally sustainable practices. Awards will be given to businesses (large and small), civic organizations (governmental and non-governmental), and for the built environment (residential and commercial construction). Special honors will be given to an award winner for with the best water management practices and an award winner for the best energy efficiency practices. The award applications are available at www.desmoinesmetro.com/events. All interested parties are encouraged to apply.
Last year’s award winners were Sun Prairie Apartments, City of West Des Moines for the Historic City Hall Renovation in Valley Junction, Strategic America, Kum & Go, Des Moines Bicycle Collective and Pat Boddy. Their many sustainability initiatives are highlighted at http://www.mwatoday.com/initiatives/environmental_impact_award.aspx.
Winners will be recognized at the Environmental Impact Awards luncheon from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, at the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge in West Des Moines. For more information, contact the Greater Des Moines Partnership at (515) 286-4950.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Environmental Impact Awards Posted in Environment, Green Initiatives August 21, 2012
As drought conditions continue, it is essential to monitor your trees, shrubs and plants to avoid losing them for good. As a general rule, most plants require a minimum of one inch of rain a week to remain healthy. This can be obtained by either rainfall or watering. Watering should be done in the early morning or early evening to avoid the hottest part of the day and evaporation. Adhering to Des Moines Water Works stage 1 water conservation guidelines, it is also requested that any watering be done every other day.
Trees, shrubs, and perennials should be watched for either curling leaves or flagging (yellowing of the leaves). A periodic, heavy watering is more beneficial than a light, daily spraying on these plants. A bucket of water with small holes in the bottom allows water to slowly release into the soil giving a more uniform watering. Using a two-inch thick layer of mulch around these plants will also help retain moisture levels in the soil and reduce water evaporation. Trees that have been in the ground for less than five years should have priority over older trees.
Vegetable, annual and container gardening dry out much faster than other plants and watering should be done in the morning or late evening. Vegetable crops will likely be smaller than normal due to the heat. They tend to use the energy from water and sunshine just to flower and stay alive and don’t have enough extra energy to produce the crop.
Most brown grass is considered dormant, not dead. Applying a fertilizer would not be recommended in these conditions. Fall aeration and over-seeding would be better money spent. Under DMWW stage 1 water conservation guidelines, it is requested that residents and businesses in the Des Moines metro area cease or reduce lawn irrigation. If you must irrigate (new sod), do so early morning or late evening, and every other day.
Recent requests from Des Moines Water Works and metro suburbs asking residential and business customers to eliminate or reduce turf irrigation has presented the opportunity for customers to be “green” by allowing their grass to go brown.
Many environmentally conscious residential and commercial customers have made significant reductions in water use. For example, Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines has reduced its outdoor water usage by 50 percent.
“When residents are asked to help conserve water, we know Mercy needs to do its part,” said Roy Young, manager of Mercy Properties and Plant Operations. “Typically our lawn irrigation systems run at night for 20 minutes on the Mercy Central Campus, Mercy College and Mercy Park Apartments. We’ve cut that to 10 minutes, and in some cases less. In a drought situation every bit of conservation helps.”
Another environmentally conscious customer, Quick Trip Corporation, has completely shut off irrigation at 22 Des Moines area locations.
It makes good sense to be a wise water user all year long, not just in times of drought. Residential and business customers can do their part by not over-irrigating and maintaining properly working irrigation systems. Des Moines Water Works and metro area suburbs appreciate customers pulling together and making small sacrifices, primarily in reduced irrigation, to help ensure Des Moines Water Works can continue to deliver a quality and reliable water supply.
Be on the lookout for mobile water filling stations, operated by Des Moines Water Works at upcoming community events. Enjoy quality Des Moines water on the go. Each DSM H2GO station features six water spigots to fill your reusable water bottle, one drinking fountain and a dog bowl for your thirsty pets!
Des Moines Water Works tap water doesn’t just taste great:
It’s clean: Des Moines Water Works ranked number one on Forbes.com list of U.S. cities with the cleanest drinking water.
It’s healthy: Water contains zero calories, zero sugar and zero fat. A typical 12-ounce can of soda contains about 150 calories and the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar. Sports drinks, which are marketed as healthy alternatives, have as many calories as sugary beverages and usually contain high levels of sodium.
It’s affordable: Des Moines Water Works tap water is a great deal. At approximately one penny per gallon, it is about 1,000 times less expensive than bottled water.
It’s green: Plastic water bottles produced for the U.S. use 1.5 million barrels of oil a year – enough to power 250,000 homes or 1000,000 cars all year. And it takes more than 3 liters of water to produce each liter of water.
It’s convenient: Quality water is available right from the tap. DSM H2GO mobile water stations will be available at upcoming community events, making staying hydrated easy and affordable. Look for the DSM H2GO station at Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday, July 21. Free water bottles will be given out while supplies last.
Live healthy. Be green. Drink tap!Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, DSM H2Go, DSM H2O Posted in Conservation, Customer Service, Customers, Environment, Green Initiatives, Health June 27, 2012
Hot, dry weather is upon us. Central Iowa and most parts of the State of Iowa are fortunate to have sufficient sources of water to meet the needs of residential, business, industrial, and governmental customers during most years and the summer months. In addition, Des Moines Water Works has made significant financial investments in treatment plants, pumps, tanks, piping, and reservoir storage to meet customers’ potable water needs.
These assets can be most efficiently operated during the very hottest of summer days when our customers use water wisely. Wise use of water is defined as being alert to and repairing leaking household appliances, taking advantage of technological advances to eliminate waste and avoiding irrigation use during the hottest part of the day.
Des Moines Water Works, in cooperation with the metropolitan area water utilities and through the Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission planning group, has developed the “Using Water Wisely” program.
This is an educational, voluntary customer program aimed at reducing water use during hot, dry summer days. Customers can do this by eliminating lawn watering during the hottest part of the day (10:00 am through 5:00 pm). This watering approach reduces the peak load on our water facilities which extends their capacity and useful life.
In addition, it is important to remember:
- Test irrigation systems each spring to ensure there are no leaking sprinkler heads and that each head is properly directing its spray onto the turf and landscape.
- Most soils in the Des Moines area can support a healthy turf, if watered no more frequently than every other day. ISU Extension pamphlet PM 1063, found at their Web page: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1063.pdf, says “Kentucky Bluegrass will withstand drought by becoming dormant. If irrigation is begun in a drought, continue to water during the drought period. Apply water infrequently, but in sufficient amounts to wet the soil to six-inch depth.” Turf grasses in clayey, silty soils found in most parts of the metro area may require up to one inch to one-half inches of water per week. These soils typically cannot absorb this much water during one irrigation cycle. Adjust your sprinkler time so you are applying from one-fourth inch to one-half inch of water during each irrigation day or cycle.
- For in-ground irrigation systems, install a moisture sensor that will turn off the irrigation system during its normal run cycle when there has been sufficient rainfall.
- When possible, avoid laying sod during July and the first three weeks of August. These typically are the hottest months and weeks of the year. New sod has no established root system and therefore requires daily watering during hot summer days to keep it alive. Beginning the last week in August and through the fall is the best time for laying sod. Grass seed is also best used during this late summer, fall time period.
- Consult your preferred garden center, lawn or landscape professional, or ISU Extension horticulturalist for tips and consultation for your specific lawn and landscape care and watering needs. Also, visit Des Moines Water Works website for other water saving tips.
Let’s all use our precious water wisely!Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Using water wisely, water conservation, Wise use of water Posted in Conservation, Education, Environment, Green Initiatives June 12, 2012
Rain barrels collect rainwater from rooftops via rain gutters, which is then used to water yards and gardens. 1/4” rain can yield over 200 gallons of water. Any large container with a lid will work, and you can make your own quite easily. Many videos with step-by-step instructions for making a rain barrel are available online.
Rain gardens are planted depressions near rain gutters that allow rainwater to be absorbed, thus reducing runoff and potentially polluted storm water going down our storm sewers and into our rivers. Rain gardens also help recharge groundwater. Native plants should be used because they don’t require fertilizer and are more tolerant to local climate conditions. Rain gardens need a little more maintenance than a lawn in the beginning, but in the long run become much easier to care for.
Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is gearing up for a special Earth Day weekend full of activities that promote watershed protection and wise use of Earth’s resources.
DMWW is a sponsor for City of Des Moines’ 2012 Trash Bash on Friday, April 20. This year’s event is dedicated to improving Iowa’s waterways and water quality. Teams of volunteers will kick-off the event at Nollen Plaza, where DMWW will have an educational booth and debut the DSMH2O Mobile Water Station for visitors to fill up their reusable water bottles! Be sure to “check-in” to DSMH2O on Foursqaure to receive a free reusable water bottle or T-shirt! Trash Bash volunteers will then set out to pick up trash in various locations around the city, including Water Works Park. Last year, over 1,000 volunteers removed 6,000 pounds of trash, tires and recyclables.
DMWW will have an interactive booth at the Science Center of Iowa’s Earth Day Fair on Saturday, April 21 at 11:00 am. Stop by for fun games, including fishing for pollutants! Be sure to “check-in” to DSMH2O on Foursqaure to receive a free reusable water bottle or T-shirt!
At both events, DMWW will be asking visitors to complete a Take Back the Tap pledge form, encouraging everyone to choose tap water over bottled water whenever possible, as well as support policies that promote clean, affordable tap water for all. Complete the pledge form and submit it to Des Moines Water Works by June 15 to be entered into a drawing to win a Des Moines Water Works prize pack!
Also, plan a visit to the Des Moines Botanical Center on Sunday, April 22. Enjoy FREE admission on Earth Day!Labels: Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Earth Day, water quality Posted in About Us, Conservation, Customer Service, Green Initiatives, Water Quality March 21, 2012
The Greater Des Moines Partnership, Center on Sustainable Communities, Des Moines Water Works and Metro Waste Authority will honor local organizations and leaders for their sustainability efforts in the Greater Des Moines area. Environmental Impact Award applications will be accepted through Friday, March 23, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. To commemorate Earth Month, winners will be announced April 16.
The Environmental Impact Awards were established to recognize organizations that and leaders who exemplify environmentally sustainable practices. Awards will be given to individuals, businesses (large and small), non-profit or community organizations, and for the built environment (residential and commercial construction). The award applications are available at www.desmoinesmetro.com/events. All interested parties are encouraged to apply.
Last year’s award winners were Iowa Home Crafters, BNIM Architects, RDG Planning & Design, The Principal Financial Group, Brad Gerndt and Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance. Their many sustainability initiatives are highlighted at http://www.mwatoday.com/initiatives/environmental_impact_award.aspx. This year’s Winners will be recognized at the Environmental Impact Awards luncheon on Wednesday, May 16, at 11:30 a.m. at the Des Moines Botanical Center. For more information, contact the Greater Des Moines Partnership at (515) 286-4950.
The forefathers of Des Moines Water Works did a tremendous job planning for and building the infrastructure of the utility to meet the water needs of the City of Des Moines and metro area prior to 1960. The planning effort has been regionally focused over the last 30 years. The implementation of these early planning efforts and a continued planning mindset to this day has produced water utility assets that serve the region very well. These past planning efforts serve to reinforce the importance of long range planning in the infrastructure intensive nature of the water utility business.
In planning for the water utility for the next 20 years, we must first estimate the water needs of the region for this future time period. The Water Works completed this planning effort in 2008 and 2009, which included analyzing customer water use trends coupled with population forecast for the region to produce forecasted total water needs. The results predicted there will be continuing water efficiency gains which will lower somewhat the overall per customer water use. All new home and business water use fixtures require less water today as a result of required efficiency improvements mandated by Federal Legislation in 1992. However, the Des Moines region is predicted to see continued modest growth in population and in business and industry such that overall water needs are estimated to increase slightly. It is important for Des Moines Water Works to plan for a slight increase in water needs in order to evaluate the adequacy of source water supplies, which can take many years to develop.
As one can imagine, a water utility must have sufficient source water supplies so as not to inhibit regional growth. Des Moines Water Works’ planning revealed that the current source supplies are very adequate for the next 20 years, except during a severe drought event that could require mandatory water use restrictions, such as limiting outdoor irrigation and other non-essential uses. With a greater awareness by most everyone of being “green” and more new construction striving to attain some form of LEED certification or at least following a more conservation ethic, DMWW’s source water supplies could well be adequate for the next 50 years.
Earth Day is April 22, and is a great time each year to show off your “greenness!” Earth Day is a reminder of our responsibility to protect our planet so that it is a place of beauty and remains healthy and safe for future generations.
You don’t have to be part of an organized event to do your part on Earth Day (and every day). Keep on with the green things you already do and try something new…
- Take a walk and breathe in the fresh air at Water Works Park
- Explore a world of plants under one dome at the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center. Enjoy free admission for everyone on Earth Day!
- Take Household Hazardous Materials (HHMs) to the Regional Collection Center in Bondurant.
- Purchase more environmentally-friendly products.
- Don’t purchase more than you will need; then use them up.
- Buy products that don’t use so much packaging.
- Use more reusable materials like lunch boxes, sandwich containers, aluminum water bottles and rags.
- Bag up grass clippings, leaves, sticks and branches and put them in CompostIt! bags at the curb.
- Clean up pet waste and put it in the garbage so it doesn’t wash down the storm sewers and into the rivers!
- Keep your car in good repair so it doesn’t leak oil. Clean up oil leaks with kitty litter or sand and sweep it up.
- Plant grass and trees so there is no loose dirt on your property.
Even though Earth Day is officially celebrated on April 22, everyday can be Earth Day if you choose.