We all need clean, abundant water

IDNR/Outdoor Indiana Magazine

IDNR/Outdoor Indiana Magazine

To the Editor:
 
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.
 
The picture isn’t all clean and refreshing, though:

  • Raw sewage pollutes 7,000 miles of Indiana’s streams and rivers.
  • 80% of Indiana water utilities say water pollution affects their ability to deliver the quality and quantity of water they need.
  • While 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% 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.”
 
It’s clear— 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?

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. Let’s enjoy them, appreciate their importance to our lives, and work to keep them clean and accessible.

 

W. William Weeks

Director, Conservation Law Center
Professor and Clinical Chair
Maurer School of Law
Indiana University

Dr. Jeffrey White

Professor and Director
Integrated Program in the Environment
Indiana University