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FREE Online Training for Private Well Owners

The Private Well Class is a free online service to educate homeowners about their private wells. The next webinar, Water Quality and Your Private Well, will take place on February 27th, 2013 at 1:00 CT. To learn more or to register, click here.

Gayle Nybo, Database and Reporting Director at Midwest Assistance Program, has participated in the Private Well Class over the past month and encourages those with private wells or those interested in ground water protection to join her online tomorrow.

“As a private well-owner in a rural area that has experienced a large population growth over the last 10 years, I felt this would be a good opportunity to learn more about my well and what types of impacts there may be on my system’s water quality, quantity etc. as more wells are being drilled in my neighboring areas. The classes presented have been very informative. They provide easy to understand lesson formats (one lesson per week) with helpful diagrams. So far, through these lessons I have attained a more educated understanding of my water system and how it works, and what can be done to properly maintain it, alleviating the need for expensive repairs or replacement. The lessons also provide great resources to refer to in the future. I’m looking forward to learning even more from the upcoming webinars.”

You can also follow The Private Well Class on Facebook!

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2013: United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation!

United Nations: In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation (Resolution A/RES/65/154). In reflection of this declaration, the 2013 World Water Day, which will take place on 22 March 2013, also will be dedicated to water cooperation. Therefore, UN-Water has called upon UNESCO to lead the 2013 United Nations International Year on Water Cooperation, in particular because of the Organization’s unique multidisciplinary approach which blends the natural and social sciences, education, culture and communication. Given the intrinsic nature of water as a transversal and universal element, the United Nations International Year on Water Cooperation naturally would embrace and touch upon all these aspects.

The objective of this International Year is to raise awareness, both on the potential for increased cooperation, and on the challenges facing water management in light of the increase in demand for water access, allocation and services. The Year will highlight the history of successful water cooperation initiatives, as well as identify burning issues on water education, water diplomacy, transboundary water management, financing cooperation, national/international legal frameworks, and the linkages with the Millennium Development Goals. It also will provide an opportunity to capitalize on the momentum created at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and to support the formulation of new objectives that will contribute towards developing water resources that are truly sustainable.

Visit the UN Water Cooperation website for additional information!2013logo_en

Office of Community Services highlights MAP’s work in South Dakota

The Office of Community Services (OCS), an Office of the Administration for Children and Families, recently highlighted MAP’s work, funded by OCS, in Coleman, South Dakota.

“The City of Coleman, South Dakota, requested MAP assistance to help address discrepancies in water records, water main breaks and areas of stagnant water.  The city’s current water meters had become obsolete and unserviceable. MAP helped the city develop and submit the State Water Plan Application and funding applications.  MAP helped secure funds for additional meter and water main projects and they will help the City of Coleman repair and/or replace all the water mains in the entire community.”

“With funding from ACF’s RCD program, MAP continues to work with the community as part of the Water Main Project and helps to ensure that the people of the City of Coleman have a safe, secure and clean water and wastewater infrastructure.”

To read the article in its entirety click here.

If your community is in need of water or wastewater technical assistance, visit our website, www.map-inc.org, for more information.

Is Water on Your Ballot?

Next Tuesday, many American voters will be heading to the polls to vote for the next President of the United States, but will you also be voting on decisions that affect your water supply? Many states and cities will have water supply initiatives on their ballot, allowing the public to voice whether or not they are willing to pay for these upgrades. Brett Walton, writer for the Circle of Blue Water News, recently published an article which defines where the Presidential candidates stand on the topic of water supply and whether or not YOU may have the option to vote on your water supply initiatives. To read the article CLICK HERE.

Minnesota’s Infrastructure – in trouble??

An article by Jeremy Dennison recently published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune brings to light the fact that “Most sewer and sanitation systems last between 30 and 50 years.  Many of Minnesota’s are as old or older, and they could fail at any point.”  The work that MAP does in Minnesota communities, as well as our eight other states, deals directly with helping to fix this very issue.  Why wait for these systems to fail?  Let’s act now.  Click here to read the article in its entirety, and if you’re a small community in need of assistance, visit the MAP website to see how we can help.

Math Tools for Small Systems

Mathematical calculations can be one of the most challenging, but also most important, tasks performed by a water or wastewater operator. With Internet-enabled computers available in an increasing number of facilities, operators can lean on calculation tools to double-check their math.  A recent SmallWaterSupply.org blog post features a list of math tools for small systems that was put together by the Missouri Rural Water Association.  In addition to some interactive tools, it also features applications for your Smartphone.  Check it out here!

Water begins to flow from awaited Lewis and Clark line….. and the timing couldn’t be better!

From the Associated Press:  TEA, S.D. – Water started flowing through the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System on Monday after more than two decades of planning and construction.

A treatment plant near Vermillion began producing water for distribution to 11 of the 20 member cities and rural water systems, including Sioux Falls.

The regional water system was incorporated in January 1990 with the goal of supplying 300,000 people in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa with water from the Missouri River.

“With our members unfortunately experiencing critical water needs in the face of a crushing drought, we are extremely pleased that Lewis & Clark is able to begin producing water just in the nick of time,” said Board Chairman Red Arndt, of Luverne. “This project has been an enormous undertaking. Words cannot express the range of emotions of finally reaching this point.”

The $462 million project is not expected to be finished for several years, and federal funding for construction is uncertain due to budget cuts.

“We continue to work tirelessly to ensure the remaining nine members are connected as soon as possible,” Arndt said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the treatment plant is scheduled for Aug. 21 — the nine-year anniversary of the Lewis & Clark Water System groundbreaking.

Conserving Water During This Record-Breaking Drought

A whopping 63.5% of the USA is now in a drought, the nation’s highest percentage since the 1950s, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.  “Unrelenting heat and lack of rain continued the downward spiral of drought conditions” in the Great Plains and Midwest this week, climate scientist Richard Heim of the National Climatic Data Center reported in the Drought Monitor (see map).

First of all, it’s important to define a drought.  A drought is a period of drier-than-normal conditions that results in water-related problems. Groundwater, which is found in aquifers below the surface of the Earth, is one of the nation’s most important natural resources.   Groundwater is the source of about 38 percent of the water that county and city water departments supply to households and businesses (public supply). It provides drinking water for more than 97 percent of the rural population who do not get their water delivered to them from a county/city water department or private water company.

Such droughts have two major impacts on small community water systems: water supply is reduced (surface waters and shallow groundwater) and water demand increases. The combination of these impacts can result in major stresses on the ability of water systems to meet demand.

Given the recent drought and lower than average rainfall in the US, many of us are looking at ways to save water. Conserving water not only benefits the environment, but also lessens the impact on your wallet.  Although there are hundreds of water saving tips, below are some easy ones to get you started:

  • Repair any leaks around your home. Leaking toilets, dripping faucets, and other leaks in pipes can waste over 10,000 gallons of water every year!
  • Turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth or shaving. As soothing as the sound of running water may be, it is a complete waste and easy fix!
  • Take short showers. It’s as simple as that.
  • Scrape food waste into the garbage and NOT the garbage disposal. Not only does this save water, but you will make your city and wastewater operator very happy!
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until its cool. 
  • Only wash full loads of laundry and only use the dishwasher when it’s fully loaded.
  • Get water efficient appliances with the WaterSense label. Water efficient dishwashers, clothes washers, showerheads, toilets, etc. are 20 percent more water efficient than other traditional products on the market.
  • Water lawns and plants during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation. Also, check your water hose for leaks!
  •  When landscaping, choose native plants that are appropriate for your region. Native plants not only use less water, but are more resistant to pests and diseases.
  • Use a rain barrel.   Position the rain barrel under a rain gutter outside your house to water plants. This is an extremely easy, green, and attractive way to conserve water!
  • Lastly, use a bucket with water to wash your car. Not only are you conserving water, but it’s a better workout than using a garden hose.

For hundreds of water saving tips click here. We must all do our part to conserve water.  Do it because it’s the right thing to do!

MAP Project Celebrates a Milestone!

Back in 2006, MAP Field Manager, Harold Reynolds, became involved with a project that would become the WAU-COL Regional Water System.  The Wausa and Coleridge (WAU-COL) project area in northeast Nebraska had several small villages with either a quantity or quality problem with their drinking water.  Wausa and Coleridge had a sufficient source of good quality water that could provide enough water to supply the six villages and themselves.

MAP staff, USDA-RD, Northeast Nebraska RC&D, Nebraska Health and Human Services and the Natural Resource Districts in the area formed an advisory coalition to assist the communities in forming the District.  The scope of the project included the development of a new water source for the communities of Magnet, McLean, Belden, and approximately 15 rural users.  Phase 1 of the project was recently completed, and the milestone was celebrated to provide special recognition to those who were instrumental to the project…..(view the full story on our website)

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