From Faucet to Forest: Water Conservation at Home

By Bernheim

Bernheim Forest and Arboretum partners with its neighbor James B. Beam Distilling Co., united by a shared commitment to water conservation. Through The Natural Water Sanctuary Alliance, the partnership between Beam and Bernheim represents a unified effort of two local organizations nestled within the scenic knobs of Clermont, Kentucky. Together, we work hand in hand to protect a precious forest and the water that flows through it. Beam directly supports various water conservation efforts at Bernheim Forest, including stream revival and the restoration of natural springs and wetlands. As neighbors for over 95 years, Beam and Bernheim collaborate to ensure the forest remains pristine and flourishes for the next 100 years. 

A few WATER FACTS about Bernheim: 

  • Bernheim conserves 73 ponds and wetlands and an extensive 90+ miles of waterways. 
  • 21+ billion gallons of rainwater fall on the forest annually, ensuring its purity for the well-being of all wildlife, great and small. 
  • Bernheim’s 4-acre Edible Garden collects and uses all water on-site through a thoughtful combination of cisterns, water-conscious planting design, pond reservoirs, solar-powered pumps, and more. 

Here’s What YOU can do at home to conserve water! 

In the Kitchen: 

  • Use a Dishwasher: They almost always use less water than washing dishes by hand. Install a dishwasher and only run it when it is full. 
  • If You Are Washing by Hand: Get a sponge soapy and wet, then turn off the water. Once you are ready to rinse, turn the water back on. 
  • Change Your Diet: Far more water goes into the process of raising animals for human consumption than goes into growing plants for consumption. To save water, eat lower on the food chain. We waste about 40 percent of our total food supply every year, which also wastes 25 percent of all freshwaters consumed annually — don’t waste food. And don’t forget to buy from your local farmers or grow your own food. 

In the Bathroom: 

  • Turn Off the Faucet: Whether brushing your teeth or shaving, turning off the faucet when not actively using it helps conserve water. 
  • Install Low Flow Faucets, Shower Heads, and Toilets: Lowering water flow can help with water waste. Flushing can be one of the biggest water wasters in the house: Older toilets use 5-7 gallons a flush, while newer models only use about 2 gallons. 

Around the House: 

  • Only Run the Washing Machine When You Have a Full Load: Better yet, invest in a water and energy-efficient model. 
  • Fix Leaks: Even with a minor leak, water is being wasted. A single dripping faucet can waste 20 gallons a day. 

In Your Yard: 

  • Install a Rain Barrel: When set up under a gutter, rain barrels can catch 4 gallons of water a day. This is great for watering plants or washing cars. 
  • Xeriscaping: When planting for aesthetics, choose native species. These won’t require as much watering, as they are used to your climate, and provide wonderful habitat for native species. If you have plants with a wide variety of water needs, plant them in groups according to how thirsty they are. Don’t put drought-tolerant plants right next to water-loving ones. 
  • Don’t Water Your Lawn but If You Must, Do It in Moderation and With Good Aim: A shocking 30 to 60% of domestic drinking water is used to water yards and gardens, and often large portions are wasted by over-watering, evaporation, and misdirected sprinklers that water sidewalks and driveways. 
  • If You Have to Water Your Garden or Lawn, Do So in the Early Morning or Late Evening: When you water in the middle of the day, much is lost to evaporation. Watering when it is cooler prevents this. For the same reason, don’t water on windy days. 
  • Don’t Use Sprinklers: Often, sprinklers both overwater areas and wastewater on driveways and sidewalks. 
  • Hand Water Your Garden or Set Up a Drip Irrigation System: This allows you to be more precise, and could cut water waste in half. Bonus: you’ll also find that hand-watering is a focused, meditative activity that tunes you into things you didn’t even notice happening in the garden. 


By implementing these simple practices in our households, we can collectively safeguard and sustain our water sources for future generations. 

Additionally, it’s essential to find inspiration and joy in water, as both a vital resource and a source of recreation. Bernheim provides an extraordinary opportunity for visitors to explore and learn the whole story of one of our most invaluable treasures: water. We invite you to explore various water sites here and discover water’s numerous roles in our lives. Plan a visit to Bernheim in Clermont, Ky., and immerse yourself in the beauty, poetry, and science of water!  


Special thanks to the James B. Beam Distilling Co. for their generous support of Bernheim’s water conservation efforts through The Natural Water Sanctuary Alliance. 


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