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Water on the mind, drinking water that is

The Harbor Column

May 12, 2006|By MIKE WHITEHEAD

Ahoy.

I think June gloom is here a month early, giving us cloudy and damp mornings with the sun trying to peek through in the afternoons. This weekend will remain mostly the same ? look for overcast mornings and afternoon sunshine if the winds kick up. Boating will be good with flat seas, as swells at Point Conception are under 7 feet.

Did you know that May 7 through 13 is National Drinking Water Week? Neither did I until an e-mail from a loyal reader hit my inbox.

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"National Drinking Water Week is a chance for water utilities and the consuming public to pause and consider the immeasurable value that a safe, reliable water supply plays in our daily lives," said Jack Hoffbuhr, executive director for the American Water Works Assn. "North America has some of the highest-quality water in the world, and this week offers us an opportunity to remind ourselves of all that tap water delivers."

The drinking water in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa is of excellent quality. As a matter of fact, the Mesa Consolidated Water District's reports show that their tap water is better than most bottled water.

The water-saving tips from the water association will not only save our fresh water supply, they'll also help reduce the volume of urban runoff and water treatment plant effluent reaching our harbor and ocean. These are the issues the city of Newport Beach's coastal and bay water quality committee has been working on for years, and it's been very successful cleaning up our harbor.

The water association has many tips, but I will only remind you of three that could affect Newport Harbor. Let's start with not over-watering your lawn: Not only does it waste water, but the runoff also carries fertilizer and trash into the storm drains. Remember the saying, "What starts at the drain, feeds the harbor when it rains."

Second, fully load the dishwasher and clothes washer before running them to reduce water use. This water is sent to the water treatment plant, with a pipe emptying treated sewage into the ocean.

Lastly, you can help preserve the quality of the available water supply by not overusing pesticides and fertilizers, avoiding flushing medications down the toilet and disposing of hazardous materials properly.

So, let's tip together a glass of tap water and make a smooth transition from National Drinking Water Week into National River Cleanup Week, which starts Saturday.

"The public's increased awareness of the trash accumulating in our rivers and streams has resulted in more volunteer participants in 2006 than any previous year," said David Brown, chairman of the river week.

The tip of the week is for you to help protect our waterways as we enter boating season. Be careful not to let any cleaning solutions rinse off your boat into the harbor when you are washing your vessel. The majority of boaters are doing a fantastic job of protecting our waterways, and adapting to new environmental concerns.

Join us at our next live remote radio broadcast at the Lake Arrowhead Boat Show on May 20. Most of the dealers will be offering demo rides on Lake Arrowhead.

Remember to tune in to the No. 1 boating talk radio show in the nation every Saturday at noon. "Capt. Mike Whitehead's Boathouse Radio Show" is on KCBQ-AM (1170) and can be heard online at www.boathouseradio.com.

Safe voyages.

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