Monday, December 12, 2011

Saving Water During The Holidays

The holiday season is fast approaching….as well as that extra pant size. With more family time and bigger notches on your belt, comes gallons of wasted water. A typical American Christmas dinner for six people requires over 30,000 gallons of water. To help you stay green and on Santa’s water saving “good list”, listed below are 6 ways to save water during Thanksgiving.
1: Run the dishwasher efficiently.
Holiday guests dirty up many dishes, but when it's time to clean up, make sure that you're running your dishwasher in the most efficient way possible. Scrap plates instead of rinsing them with hot water, and making sure the dishwasher is full each time it runs. To save on the costs of heating water, avoid special cycles like pre-rinse and rinse-hold, which can be unnecessary, and stop the dishwasher before it's time to dry—the dishes can air dry, instead.
2: Cooking That Turkey
The best way to thaw a frozen turkey is in the refrigerator. It takes about 24 hours for every 5 pounds. If you are like many Americans, you need to 'speed-thaw' the bird. Keep the turkey in the original tightly sealed bag and place it in a clean and sanitized sink or food service safe pan. Submerge in cold water and change the cold water every 30 minutes. The turkey will take about 30 minutes per pound to thaw. Our imaginary turkey is 10 pounds so it would take 300 minutes with 10 changes of water. If you used only 10 gallons of water each time, it would add up to 100 gallons per turkey. If 1/2 of the turkeys in the US were speed-thawed, that's over 2 BILLION gallons of water. Any way you look at it, we use enough water to create a sizable Turkey Lake just to get Mr. Gobbler ready to cook.

3: Impressing your guest

Your having the family over at your house this year for Christmas? Impressing the aunts and uncles with a nice green lawn are always high on your list but unnecessary and wasteful. Cut down watering on cool and overcast days and don't water in the rain. Adjust or deactivate automatic sprinklers. You can save up to 300 gallons per time but opting to impress the extended family with your homemade bread.
4: Leave the China in the closet

Use Recycled-Paper Products instead of setting out your grandmother’s fine china. Products made from 100 percent recycled paper require much less water in their manufacturing than do those made from virgin paper. Who really wants to clean dishes anyways?
5: Cleaning up the Leftovers
Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage more (even better--compost!).

Approximately 30 million of us will watch football after the meal. The next spike occurs at halftime of the football game. Just like clockwork, American toilets will flush 30 million times and use 108 million gallons of water - enough water to fill an entire football stadium! Water efficient toilets would save 62 million gallons of that water. With the meal, time zones in the US go from east to west and stagger the energy and water use. The football game happens in real-time and much of the country hits the bathroom at the same time.
The point of all this is not to have you eating bologna sandwiches for Christmas, but as you let your belt out after dinner, you may want to give thanks for living in a time and place that allows such enormous energy and water use.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Beginning of Irrigation in Terry County

In the "history books" of Terry County, the article, " beginning of irrigation in Terry County" can be found tucked away inside. Lucky for me, Lindy at the South Plains UWCD found the article and placed it on my desk. It is written by R.J. Purtell and gives the reader a glimpse back into the 20's and beyond.

Beginning of Irrigation in Terry County
by R. J. Purtell
source: Terry County History Book 2002

           My first memory of an irrigation well was on Mr. Schulze's farm in early 1920's. Mr Schulze grew potatoes and sold them from his wagon by the county road in the fall of the year. The amazing thing about the story was Mr. Schulze was blind. He and his family hand dug the well on top of a rise on Arthur Sawyer's farm a mile and a half southwest of town. The well had a two inch centrifugal pump in the bottom to boost the water to the surface. The water was used to furrow water for approximately one or two acres of potatoes.
           I dug my firs irrigation well in Terry County in 1941. It was an eight0inch well pumping 1000 gpm with a Lane & Bowler pump purchased from J.B. Knight Company. I used this well in ditch watering fro approximately four or five years. Yields increased, but so did the problems. Ditch watering this sandy soil was nearly impossible because the ditches and furrows would collapse. We then decided that we would try to sprinkle row crops using aluminum pipe and large impact sprinklers.
           We purchased 6" X 20' aluminum pipe out of Eugene Oregon. We laid two lines, each a quarter mile long. An eighth inch feeder line was attached to the middle of the quarter mile sprinkler line and flowed 1299 gallons per minute. The sprinkler line carried 80 lbs pressure and applied and acre inch of water per hour. Each sprinkler line was moved every two hours night and day. One line was hand moved while the other one was watering.
          After the drought of 1951-1953 sprinkler irrigation was accepted and wells were beginning to be drilled all over the county. This trend continued throughout the 1950's raising our yield expectations from one-half bale to two bales of cotton per acre. Automated irrigation is continuing up until the present time and is the engine that propels the economy of Terry County.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

PBUWCD Calendar Winners

PBUWCD Art Contest Winners
We have the results from the 4th annual Permain Basin UWCD Art Contest. The winners have received their cash prizes and certificates, so we are now ready for you to see their hard work.

There were four schools that participate in this years contest ; Elbow Elementary, Grady Elementary,Sands Elementary & Stanton Elementary. The judges, water district staff, and myself, enjoyed looking at all of the students' art work. It was interesting to see the water conservation message portrayed in so many unique ways.

The following picture was our grand prize winner this year. The student's picture will will be featured on the cover of our 2011 calendar.

by Ami Baeja, a student at Stanton Elementary

The following students' artwork will be featured on the monthly pages of our 2012 Calendar.

Chandler Densom; Stanton Elementary

Emma Rojas; Stanton Elementary

Hope Perez; Grady Elementary

Chloe Carey; Forsan Elementary

Cody Huitt; Forsan Elementary

Emily Garcia; Forsan Elementary

Kaylee Morgan; Forsan Elementary

Mikayla Arzate; Forsan Elementary

Montie Munsell; Forsan Elementary

Ryan Buske; Forsan Elementary

Samantha Raney; Forsan Elementary

Cassidy Rusk; Forsan Elementary

Thursday, November 10, 2011

LEUWCD Art Contest

We have the results from the 5th annual Llano Estacado UWCD Art Contest. The winners have received their cash prizes and certificates, so we are now ready for you to see their hard work.

There were three schools that participate in this years contest ; Seminole Elementary, Seagraves Elementary & Loop Elementary. The judges, water district staff, & myself, enjoyed looking at all of the students' art work. It was interesting to see the water conservation message portrayed in so many unique ways.

A special thanks goes out to our judges. We appreciate you taking the time to be apart of our education program.

The following picture was our grand prize winner this year. The student's picture will will be featured on the cover of our 2012 calendar.

Alexander Harms from  Seminole Elementary

The following students' artwork will be featured on the monthly pages of our 2012 Calendar.

Alyssa Estrada; Loop Elementary

Hannah Spille; Seagraves Elementary

Carlye Winfrey; Semionle Elementary

Dustie Beaubien'Seminole Elementary

Easton Rios; Seminole Elementary

Jenesis Turner; Seminole Elementary

Julian Bogues;Seminole Elementary

 Kaighan Gray;Seminole Elementary

 Kody Sims;Seminole Elementary

 Lauryl Stegall; Seminole Elementary

Madison Petty;Seminole Elementary

Nikki Fehr;Seminole Elementary

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kids Kows and More: 2011

The SPUWCD presented at the Kids Kows & More program in Brownfield. Students from Wellman-Union, Meadow & Brownfield listened to presentations about cheese, beef, rainwater harvesting and forestry.

The studedents learned about cheese making, soil, cotton ginning, the cattle industrty and entomology. I spoke to the studetns about rainewater harvesting. We talked about the rainwater harvesting process and how the students could use the rainwater at their school or their homes.

As always, we had a great time at the Kids Kows and More Program. I look forward to speaking to the students again next year.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yoakum SWCD 2011 Conservation Jamboree

Yoakum SWCD 2011 Conservation Jamboree

The Sandy Land UWCD participated in the Yoakum SWCD 2011 Conservation Jamboree this past Friday. We always enjoy going to this event and talking with the 4th & 5th graders from Denver City & Plains. There were several business and individuals who presented in their area of expertise. Presentors & topics included

Bugs & Things – Manda Cattaneo -AgrilLife Extension Service
Farm Equipment – Curt Summer – South Plains Implement
Rain Simulator – Matt Pruner – NRCS
Branding Cattle – Chip Bennett – Yoakum County Rancher
Water - Crystal Hogue- Sandy Land Underground Water District
Spices - Jarrod Chestnut - Southwest Spice
Honey & Bees - Dennis Ross
Peanuts – Golden Peanuts – Steve and Riley
Wildlife – Vicki Sybert - Texas Park & Wildlife
Cotton Gin – Martin Lefevere – Farm Bureau

This year I wanted to do something more interactive with the kids, especially since I was scheduled to talk after the “Bee Man”. I decided to concentrate on the topic of rainwater harvesting while still stressing the importance of water conservation. The students seemed to enjoy learning about the rainwater harvesting process and asked a lot of questions.

I ended the presentation with an activity that the students seemed to enjoy. They had to "harvest" rain, or my crafty version of rain, in cups. The students then passed the cups filled with rain to their classmates assembled in a line. At the end of the line their teammates were holding a gutter, or once again my crafty version of a gutter. The students had to pour the rain into the gutters and then into their teams rain barrel or bucket. The team that harvested the most rain water after four minutes won.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Meadow Outdoor Classroom

The Outdoor Classroom at Burleson Elementary in Meadow, was held last week . Students from Wellman-Union, Dawson, Plains and Burleson ,along with their teachers, took part in our two-day learning experience.

Our 5th graders enjoyed listing to the different presenters and learning about our habitat. Presenters included;

Amphibians and Micro-Invertebrates; Russel Martin
Toads and Tadpoles in Sand Dunes; Burr Williams

Weather on the Southern High Plains; Carry Allen

Lessor Prairie Chicken; Duane Luis
The Birds of the High Plains; Gail Barnes
The "dirt" on Soil; Greg Lindsey

 Rangeland Management;Kegan Crouch

Draws and Groundwater; Jason Coleman

Salt Cedar/Beetle; Manuel DeLeon

Our field trip was to a buffalo ranch. The kids really enjoyed getting to see these beautiful animals up close.

A special thanks goes out to all of our presenters this week and our schools and their awesome teachers and staff. Also to the Terry County NRCS, Jackie Pate, Terry County AgriLife Extension and the  SPUWCD . It is amazing how much we can accomplish and how many students we can reach, when we work together.