Aquifer Protection Tips

What Can I Do?

In Metro Memphis, we are blessed with some of the best drinking water in the world.  We all have to do our part to keep it that way.  Two of the greatest threats to the Memphis aquifer are overuse and pollution. Below are some ways that you can do your part.

Conserve Water

Water in our aquifer is not an endless resource.  It is important that we are not taking water out of our aquifer quicker than nature can recharge it. Here are some easy ways to reduce the amount you use every day:

  • Fix Leaks – Leaks account for about 13% of your water bill every month or roughly 800 gallons
  • Take Shorter Showers – Taking shorter showers and using a WaterSense showerhead will save you 2,700 gallons of water a year.
  • Turn of the Tap – Turn off the faucet while shaving or brushing your teeth.
  • Using Your Dishwasher—When loading a dishwasher, scrape off dishes instead of rinsing. Only run it when it is full.  Also upgrade to an energy efficiency model.
  • Using Your Refrigerator – Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight rather than using a running tap of hot water.
  • Skip The Garbage Disposal – Add food wastes to your compost pile instead of using the garbage disposal.
  • Using Your Washer Machine – Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine. Newer washer machines are high efficiency and use very little water.
  • Plant Native Plants – They use less water and are typically drought tolerant.  Be smart about when you water your plants. It is best to water in the morning.
  • Tidying Up Outside – Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and steps rather than hosing off.
  • Washing Your Car – Use water from a bucket, or consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  • Outdoor Pool – If you have a pool, use a cover to reduce evaporation when the pool is not being used.
Visit the EPA‘s website on other ways you can help protect our water source.

Water Statistics from

Dispose of Hazardous Household Materials Correctly

When you pour chemicals on the ground or down the drain or throw away hazardous household materials, they may seem like they are gone, but just because they are out of sight doesn’t mean they disappeared.  Chemicals and heavy metals from waste can move through the ground down into our aquifer.  Once pollution is in groundwater, it is very difficult and expensive to remove.  One of the easiest ways to prevent this is to dispose of hazardous household materials correctly. DO NOT DISPOSE OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS IN YOUR REGULAR GARBAGE! Not only is it not safe for the environment, it is a danger to those who work in garbage collection. People have unfortunately died due to improperly disposed hazardous materials.

Know Where To Dispose Of Your Hazardous Waste

Get Involved

One of the missions at CAESER is not only doing research, but informing the public of our findings.  An educated community can make informed decisions that can best protect our drinking water.  Getting involved is one way to stay informed about local environmental issues that can threaten our drinking water.  Here are some (not all!) organizations in the Metro Memphis area:

Another tip is to be involved in your local government.  Becoming informed about these issues means you can make informed voting choices when initiatives and ballots are put forward. The next time you see an initiative on the ballot or one being proposed that you are for or against, call your representative. To find out who your elected officials are go to USA.Gov’s Elected Officials website.