We at Lake Friendly often talk about how crucial our water is.
It's our most precious resource, after all.
And while we plan to continue relaying this important message, we thought that now is the perfect time to talk about one of Earth's natural ways of restocking our water supply—snow!
Many Manitobans make good use of storing and recycling rainwater, so why don't we think of snow in the same sustainable way? Snow is, after all, just cold water waiting to be used—instead of just being wished away.
So, with that being said, let's look at some ways we can repurpose our snowfall this winter and actually benefit from it!
Think of it as greywater
What do you use greywater for? Greywater is is gently used water from your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines. While greywater may look “dirty,” it is a safe and even beneficial source of irrigation water in a yard. Keep in mind that if greywater is released into rivers, lakes, or estuaries, its nutrients become pollutants, but to plants, they are valuable fertilizer.
Aside from the obvious benefits of saving water (and money on your water bill), reusing your greywater keeps it out of the sewer or septic system, thereby reducing the chance that it will pollute local water bodies. Reusing greywater for irrigation reconnects urban residents and our backyard gardens to the natural water cycle.
So...collect it and save it for a sunny day
Do you happen to have any rain barrels, or even empty milk jugs, kicking around? Consider putting them to use and proclaiming yourself as an expert snow recycler this winter!
Set any empty containers in your back yard and let them collect snow until full. Bring them inside to melt for indoor water use, or set them aside for springtime when you'll need that extra water for gardening.
Remember: snow isn't called "the poor man's fertilizer" for nothing! As snowflakes form and fall, they absorb nitrates from the atmosphere and then release these nutrients into the soil as they melt.
Give the tap a rest—water your plants with thawed snow
In the meantime, that light and fluffy water that just fell from the sky can be used to water your indoor plants too. In most cases, water that comes from the atmosphere is actually more beneficial for your plants than water that comes from your tap is.
Tap water today, while totally sanitary and safe to drink, often contains higher amounts of nutrients like iron than some houseplants can handle. Some plant care instructions will even recommend you filter your water before giving your little green babies a drink—which means that thawed snow might be just what the plant doctor ordered!
However, it's important to note that most plants don't take too kindly to ice cold water. So, it's best to let that snow thaw to room temperature before adding it to the soil.
It's always good to know your plants a little before you try something new.
Called the 'poor man's fertilizer'
You might as well put it to use now—we know you've got an abundance of it!
Use it for those "waste" water tasks
Going back to our point about thinking of snow as greywater, consider reusing snow for tasks that you often feel like you're "wasting" water on. Think about tasks like rinsing out recyclables or washing the car. These kinds of tasks don't require a certain type or temperature of water, so feel free to use that saved up snow!
Ice, ice, baby!
Last, but certainly not least, try unleashing your creativity and putting snow's chill factor to good use. While this idea doesn't necessarily serve sustainability purposes, it does provide benefits for your mental and physical health—which we are all for!
If you're feeling that "stuck inside" feeling that many of us are managing these days, don't underestimate the power of childlike creativity.
Snow is an incredible building tool, thanks to its sticky consistency and ability to solidify in place. Pinterest has tons of snow creation ideas to help inspire you this season, even if you're not an avid snowman sculptor.
And if snow sculptures aren't for you, consider how you could turn snow into a practical building material. We've seen photos of fellow frosty lodgers making some pretty cool tools out of snow—like walls around their compost bins to help keep wildlife out!
No matter what you decide to do with your snow this winter, remember to think "lake friendly."