Monsoon madness: What’s this watery summer weather?

Photo by Flickr user John Fowler

It’s easy to forget about types of weather that occur outside of our own backyards, especially during the summer months of sunshine. The wonders of our planet and its most essential resource never seize to amaze us, though, and that’s why we’re so fascinated by a summer weather phenomenon called monsoons.  

A monsoon, according to National Geographic, is a seasonal change in the winds of the area that alter the climate of the region. This phenomenon is common in areas close to the Indian Ocean, like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladeshand Myanmar, but it also occurs in the southwestern United States. Clearly, our eight Aqua states don’t typically see this type of weather, so we’re extra curious about it! 

A monsoon in New Mexico

There are two kinds of monsoons: dry and wet. A wet monsoon causes heavy rain in a region, while a dry monsoon does the opposite. This video from NASA does a great job of explaining how and why monsoons form. 

 

Monsoons mostly affect North America in the middle of summer, from July to September. In fact, states like New Mexico and Arizona get half of their annual rainfall during monsoon season. Fun fact: The wettest monsoon recorded in U.S. history was in 1984, with 9.56 inches of fallen rain. These records include numbers traced back to 1896. 

Usually, monsoons are beneficial to the areas they affect. Because these storms often occur after long periods of drought, the moisture they bring is replenishing and fruitful to the plants in the ecosystem. The high levels of rain can also aid firefighters battling wildfires in extremely dry areas.

Not all effects of monsoons are simple and benign, though. Since the affected land has often been bone-dry for so long, it can only soak up so much water at once. The rest of the water sits on top of the parched land, causing flash floods even from small amounts of rain. On top of flooding, monsoons can also bring lightning storms and massive dust storms called haboobs that can pose additional safety concerns for the affected communities, especially for people caught off guard while driving.

People who live in parts of the U.S. where monsoons occur are usually aware of necessary precautions. But for tourists, business travelers, or even new neighbors in the southwest, it’s important to know how to prep for monsoon season. In fact, paying attention to weather forecasts and having an emergency supply kit on hand are good summer weather tips for people living in any part of the country, especially during Hurricane Season.

What other types of watery weather pique your interest? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter

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6 Ways to Improve Water Quality Right In Your Backyard

August is National Water Quality Month, which is a great reason to remember that clean water is an invaluable resource to our communities both big and small. Aqua is committed to ensuring water quality. Our efforts to update and maintain infrastructure are one way Aqua helps make a difference, but we like celebrating the simple ways individuals can make a difference, too.

Here are six easy ways you can stand with us in our pledge to protect the water in our communities.

Wash the Days of Disposing of Chemicals in Your Sink or Toilet Down the Drain

If you need to get rid of paint, chemical cleaners or any other questionable liquids, do not dispose of them in your sink! Some of the chemicals in these products can be toxic, so you do not want them to get into your water supply. Instead, it’s easy to find a proper way to dispose of these hazardous waste materials by searching Earth911 or by contacting your local sanitation, public works or environmental health department.

Additionally, non-biodegradable objects such as baby wipes, feminine hygiene products and medicines should never be flushed down the toilet as a method of disposal. Instead, dispose these items in their proper trash receptacles or see if your local pharmacy has a take-back program to safely get rid of pills.

Hit the Road with Improper Car-Washing Techniques

You might think washing your car at home is a no-brainer, but you may be surprised to know that because many car-washing soaps contain mixtures of various chemicals, you could be unknowingly contaminating your water supply.

When you use cleaning products inside your home, the used water goes straight to a treatment plant through sanitary sewer systems. The leftover water from washing a car outside, however, often goes down storm drains and ends up in water supply systems without undergoing proper treatment.

Instead, consider getting your car washed at a commercial business designed to handle all the watery runoff. Professional car washes tend to use 60 percent less water than at-home methods, too. If you prefer to wash your own car, make sure to invest in biodegradable and phosphate-free cleaners. Wash on an area that absorbs water, such as gravel or grass, and use a trigger nozzle on your hose to conserve water. 

Put Your Banana Peels To Good Use

 

Common lawn chemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and insecticides are often used to care for gardens and yards. When they aren’t used correctly, though, they can enter into streams where they can harm critters and contaminate drinking water.

Instead, consider using compost as a natural fertilizer. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has a helpful guide to how to get started. Composting adds nutrients and organic matter back into soil without relying on harmful chemicals found in synthetic fertilizers. 

Make Picking Up Your Pet’s Number Two Your Number One Priority

When you don’t pick up your pet’s waste, you put yourself and your water supply at risk. During rain storms, a lot of this waste runs straight into storm drains that—you guessed it—do not get treated to ensure water quality.

Did you know you can make it a priority for your neighborhood to clean up after its four-legged friends by coming together to install a community waste bag station? Consider fundraising to buy a ready-made waste station, or rise to the challenge building your own.

Throw Litter For a Loop

Litter on streets, sidewalks and parking lots easily washes into our water systems. Even if you would never dream of littering, it’s important to note that it still happens all the time. People are less likely to litter when it isn’t the norm, so instead of relying on others to pick up trash, challenge yourself to lead by example. 

Organize a Community Clean-Up 

The most effective way to protect water quality in your community is to go straight to the source. Enacting a community clean-up of your local watershed can do wonders for your local ecosystem and water supply. There are plenty of existing toolkits that make it as easy as possible for community members to organize clean-up efforts at local rivers or streams.

You can also search for established clean-up projects in your area. Most groups are always looking for volunteers and would be happy to include you in their efforts.

Clearly, a great deal of planning goes into a community clean-up, but a commitment to water quality in the long-run is beneficial to all.

There are so many ways to protect the water in your community. Together we can ensure that the quality of our water remains a priority for ourselves, our families and generations to come. 

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A Message of Thanks to Aqua Volunteers


Caption: Kim Joyce volunteering in Panama via a partnership between Aqua America and Villanova University.

By Aqua Vice President of Regulatory, Government and External Affairs, Kim Joyce

April is National Volunteer Month. In recognition of this month, organizations, companies and individuals in cities all over the nation make an extra effort to thank volunteers, sign up new ones and contribute to causes that matter.

As someone serving on the committee to help roll out and oversee our Community Volunteerism Program, I’m proud to acknowledge our employees’ commitment to volunteerism. This dedication is what inspired us to launch the program last year.

Aqua’s volunteerism program organizes community outreach events that allow our employees to connect with one another. Plenty of Aqua employees and their families can be found serving communities across the eight states we serve.

Some examples that highlight the wide array of volunteer activities in which Aqua employees have participated and continue to participate include:

In line with our mission to supply communities with clean water, Aqua Illinois has participated in the state’s Adopt-a-River program for 15 years. As part of the program, volunteers have worked to clean up the Kankakee River, which sources one of our water treatment plants.

In North Carolina, our crews responded quickly when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked Aqua to supply clean drinking water to more than two dozen homes with contaminated wells. We were proud to expedite this process in order to minimize the negative impact on the Wake Forest community.

By planting more than 620 new trees in one day, volunteers from Aqua Pennsylvania connected with local conservationists and residents to bring plenty of fresh air to the Perkiomen Creek Watershed.

To help promote fire safety, something we care about deeply at Aqua, our Ohio employees help to install fire alarms and teams across our states have focused on fundraising for various local fire department. It makes us proud to support brave men and women who often volunteer to risk their lives protecting our communities.

In New Jersey, our team biked from “City to Shore” for several years to raise awareness and funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Our employees in Virginia took their love of water to a bass fishing tournament to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

Hats off to Aqua Indiana employees who participated in South Haven’s Team Up to Clean Up event on Earth Day. Several Aqua employees volunteered to ready the community parks for the new season. They helped install bike racks, benches and grills at the parks, and re-installed fencing and a gate.

Finally, Aqua Texas sponsored and took part in the Wimberley Village Library summer reading program, which provides families an opportunity to discover and develop the joy of reading.

Whether as part of a company event or due to a personal dedication to a cause, every volunteer effort made by our Aqua employees is an effort that matters.

Why We Volunteer

Providing exceptional water service to our customers includes all aspects of making their communities better places to live. At Aqua, we strongly believe that volunteerism is a vital part of that commitment to each and every community.

As National Volunteer Month comes to a close, please join me in thanking our employees—and all the other volunteers in your lives—for their service both in and outside the office. Together, they create a positive impact that not only benefits our communities, but also inspires us all to continue giving back to the people we serve.

 

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Wonder Women in Worldwide Water Infrastructure

Every March, we celebrate Women’s History Month by honoring women past and present whose commitment, knowledge and achievements have left lasting marks on the world.  

 Women are particularly impactful in the water industry, whether they work with our most precious resource here in the United States or abroad. Between developing infrastructure projects, performing important scientific research, or finding ways to provide clean water to those in need, countless women make global change every day in the realm of water. 

Dr. Deepthi Wickremasinghe, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

 

Honorable Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation of South Africa

 

Rehema Bavuma, Katosi Women Development Trust, Uganda

 

Khin Ni Ni Thein, Myanmar woman water professional

 

Emma Anakhasyan, Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment

 What other women – besides all the ladies here at Aqua, of course – are doing important work in the water industry? Tell us which water wonder women inspire you!   

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Aqua Indiana Contributes $1,500 To Washington Township/Avon Fire Department

Avon, IN — Aqua Indiana (Aqua) presented a $1,500 charitable contribution to the Washington Township/Avon Fire Department on February 8th. The local fire department consists of 57 full-time firefighters and 9 full-time administrative staff. The department protects and serves residents of Washington Township in Hendricks County, Indiana, including Aqua customers in its Hendricks County wastewater division.

Fire Chief Dan Smith and other members of the department gratefully accepted the contribution. Chief Smith thanked Aqua for its generous support and said that the donation would specifically help Station 142, which is an Aqua customer.

“Aqua is proud of the community partnerships we’ve established with organizations like the Washington Township Fire Department,” said Aqua Area Manager Kieran Tansy. “We take great pride in supporting the dozens of volunteers who protect the communities we serve. Aqua knows firsthand the importance of the specialized training it takes to perform our jobs, and we’re thankful to help support the fire department’s ongoing efforts.” 

Aqua Indiana operates 11 utility systems in 11 counties and provides water and wastewater service to more than 80,000 people throughout the state. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information, or follow Aqua on Facebook at facebook.com/MyAquaAmerica and on Twitter at @MyAquaAmerica.

 

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