What Can You Do to Help Keep Our Water Clean? 32 Ways You Can Help Protect Water Quality

We are all responsible to help protect and maintain local water quality. Here are 32 examples of actions that you can take to help ensure you are doing your part! How many are you already doing?

Get Informed

  1. I learn about things in and out of the water that affect water quality. 

Get Involved

  1. I support a local watershed organization through volunteering, reading publications, sharing social media posts, donations, or other activities (reading this counts!).

Waste Disposal

  1. I clean up after dogs to keep microorganisms out of the waterways. 
  2. I dispose of all hazardous wastes (such as bleach, ammonia, batteries and paint) in designated disposal areas. Local fire stations often have household hazardous waste disposal areas.
  3. I take extra or expired medications and pharmaceuticals to the pharmacy for safe disposal.
  4. I do not dispose of grease, disposable wipes, hygiene products, dental floss, bandages or cosmetics down the drain or toilet.
  5. I do not dispose of garbage, household grey water (residual water from washing yourself or your dishes/laundry) or sewage down storm drains.
  6. I participate in a municipal ‘green bin’ composting program, I have my own composter, or I am actively encouraging my local community to implement a composting program.

Responsible Recreation

  1. Before drinking water from a river, stream or lake, I filter or boil the water using the appropriate techniques.
  2. I avoid swallowing water when swimming in a lake or river.
  3. I stay on designated trails while hiking, biking or horseback riding.
  4. I avoid driving my vehicle through wetlands or waterways.
  5. I clean my boat, trailer, off-highway vehicle, fishing gear and hiking boots, allowing them to dry completely between use in different water bodies.
  6. I put fishing gear and boots in the freezer to kill many attached invasive species.
  7. I utilise designated watercraft inspection stations along highways when returning from boating trips.
  8. I am very careful with campfires and backyard fires to ensure they do not spread.
  9. I respect all regulations during a fire ban .
  10. I report any wildfires that I see.
  11. I obey area-specific signs posted by local fire and rescue operations.
  12. I use biodegradable soap and dispose of washing water properly (in designated areas and away from lakes, rivers or streams) while camping outdoors.

Spread the Word!

  1. I understand the collective impact we can have on water quality and quantity if everyone makes water-conscious choices. Learn more about the cumulative impacts of water decisions here.
  2. I encourage local school and municipal landscapers to reduce or eliminate pesticide use, and I support alternative pest reduction techniques.
  3. I speak up when I see friends, family or strangers about to do something harmful to water quality (like pour paint down the drain, flush pharmaceuticals down the toilet, or walk off the trail).
  4. I report instances of deleterious substances entering storm drains or waterways by calling the 24-hour Energy & Environmental Response Line 1-800-222-6514 (Alberta).

Making Choices Today

  1. I choose food items that have been grown where pesticide use is well regulated, or choose foods that were grown without the use of pesticides.
  2. I use environmentally-friendly cleaning products.
  3. I restrict the use of non-essential fertilizers to help prevent nutrients from entering waterways.
  4. I use care when applying fertilizer outdoors (e.g., I use a drop spreader to keep fertilizer off driveways, sidewalks and roads).
  5. I use body scrubs and face washes that do not contain micro-beads.

On Your Property

  1. Where possible, I have replaced impervious surfaces on my property with porous asphalt or permeable pavement.
  2. I am familiar with Low Impact Development (LID) and when possible have used LID techniques on my property to help protect water quality and increase my community’s environmental resilience.
  3. I use professional car washing facilities in order to keep wash water out of storm drains.