August is Water Quality Month (#WQM17). What's on tap? A reminder to celebrate Indiana's bounty of rivers, lakes and streams. They support a billion-dollar recreational economy and are central to our health, industry and agriculture.
Raw sewage pollutes 7,000 miles of our streams and rivers.
Eighty percent of Indiana water utilities say water pollution affects their ability to deliver the quality and quantity of water they need.
Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota have significantly invested in understanding, protecting and governing their surface and ground waters. Indiana has not.
A national survey published in June found that 87 percent of American consumers believe “Clean water is the most essential natural resource — more than clean air” and 61% believe “Water issues are a major problem or a crisis in the U.S.”
Those who depend on Indiana's ground and surface water — that's all of us — should take steps to better understand its importance to our public health, ecology and quality of life. A study funded by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust underscored the centrality of water to Indiana's economy, public health and quality of life. Building on a 2014 report by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the study calls for active stewardship of our water resources, starting with better monitoring of freshwater systems and cleanup of polluted waterways.
How to observe Water Quality Month?
Visit the #WQM17 Facebook page.
Paddle down a favorite stream.
Pick up after pets.
Gather friends to clean up a littered waterway.
Let your state representative or state senator know that water quality is important to you.
This August, and year-round, let's vow not to take Indiana's bountiful fresh waters for granted.
W. William Weeks, Director, Conservation Law Center, Professor and Clinical Chair, Maurer School of Law, Indiana University and Dr. Jeffrey White, Professor and Director, Integrated Program in the Environment, Indiana University