Urban Water Runoff
A city block generates more than five times as much rainwater runoff as a forested area of the same size. Rain that falls on hard surfaces (rooftops, driveways, streets, etc.) that don’t allow water to penetrate the soil alters the amount and quality of water that enters rivers, streams, lakes and oceans.
Rainwater runs off pavement into the nearest storm drain, where it’s transported to local streams, rivers and eventually the ocean. On its way to the storm drain, rainwater picks up pollutants like oil, antifreeze, pet waste, fertilizers and pesticides. In most places, storm water does not get treated, so all of those pollutants end up in local waters.
Give these tips a try to protect water quality where you live. Click image for larger version.
Learn more about water quality!
- Wetlands help slow water flow and prevent floods, support diverse wildlife and enhance property value – and they also help filter pollutants from water. Wetlands help retain excess pollutants that could clog waterways and affect water quality and wildlife. Click image for larger version.
- Excess fertilizer and pesticide use can be sources of pollution in nearby lakes, rivers and streams when rain water carries them away from yards and gardens. Native plants – plants that are adapted to grow in the area where you live – are low maintenance and can help reduce the amount of fertilizer and pesticides you need to use in your yard. Click image for larger version
- Scientists use many different instruments to measure the health of water. They use gauges, nets, probes and meters that take measurements of the physical and chemical conditions of the water and the health of the critters that live in it. Scientists also take photographs from airplanes and satellites to monitor changes in conditions along streams, lakes and bays. Scientists measure temperature, dissolved oxygen (how much oxygen is in the water for animals), pH levels, nutrients, toxic substances, turbidity (how clear the water is), bacteria, visual surveys and biological sampling (what critters live in the water).