Perhaps like good health, access to clean water is entirely underappreciated. Greenwood is fortunate that we have an excellent water resource in Lake Greenwood and the fine folks at CPW and Greenwood Metro to keep us supplied. However, as we know, we are not an island unto ourselves. The arrival and spread of COVID-19 illustrated how interconnected we are within our country and our world. How often do we turn on the faucet and forget to think of the ultimate source of our refreshment?

There are many small steps you can take to conserve and protect our water supply. In fact, there is an entire Water Resources Team within Clemson Extension working to bring you the information you need to understand and change your impact. Whatever we put out into the environment can get washed into storm drains and travel directly to our lakes and rivers. Excess fertilizer, pesticides, leaking fluids from our vehicles, soapy water from washing our cars, all can cause problems once they reach a local body of water. Even pet waste contains troublesome bacteria that can enter local water sources. Algal blooms, fish kills, health concerns and environmental contaminants can all result from our activities.

So, in your yard, garden, or place of employment, use products wisely. Always follow package instructions on application rates. Do not over apply. The thought that “a little is good, a lot must be better” is just wasteful when it comes to fertilizers and pesticides and can cause real damage to your lawn/garden, not to mention the environment. Be especially careful if you have a stream or pond on your property. Use water wisely. When we have plenty of rain, adjust your sprinkler/watering schedule. Don’t waste that clean, treated water on an already saturated lawn. You can find guidance and ideas, like how to build a rain garden, online at clemson.edu/extension/carolinaclear.

At my house, we love a good water balloon fight. When quarantine hit, and my husband and I became the default playmates for my son, we had a soggy battle at least once a week. Thankfully, we have the water resources to allow us to enjoy such an activity. We always carefully picked up the shattered balloon remnants when the fun was over to keep them from causing havoc like being eaten by birds or getting washed into the storm drain. I say this to acknowledge that I am not carefully counting each drop of water I use. The goal is to be mindful. Think about the big picture and make some little adjustments that have impact.

Our local extension office is closed for now, but we are still here for you. You can reach me at stepht@clemson.edu, or 864-889-0541. You can also find our Home Garden Information Center online at HGIC.Clemson.edu. Plus, our offices now have a page at facebook.com/GreenwoodCoExtension where we will be posting timely information.

Stephanie Turner is the Greenwood County horticulture agent for Clemson Cooperative Extension.