Importance of good water quality

National Water Quality Month was originally founded in 2005 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) but has a long history of support prior to its founding. Public support goes all the way back to the early 1970s, when initiatives for the Clean Water Act first began. After being passed in 1972, the Clean Water Act made it illegal to dump large amounts of toxic materials into water bodies. A little later, the Safe Drinking Water Act was passed in 1974 to protect the public water systems and groundwater supply. Today, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA, and water utility companies all play an important part in making sure that our water is safe to use.

Humans are not the only ones that benefit from good water quality; countless fish, animals and plants need good, clean water to thrive and survive. Consider the ongoing tragedy of the West Indian Manatees of Florida. These iconic mammals, already on the endangered list, have lost huge areas of prime seagrass that they rely on for grazing due to harmful algae blooms that block sunlight from reaching the seagrasses. The algae blooms are caused by increased water pollution and higher water temperatures. Over 475 manatees died of starvation just this year from January to March from habitat loss. This tragic loss could have been prevented by better water quality.

There’s no one source to blame for the deterioration of water quality; thousands of factors impact the quality of local waters, but there are ways that we can all pitch in to do our part and help out. Picking up after your pets, washing your car on grass or in car washes rather than the driveway, pick up and bag trash, don’t over fertilize your yard, keep your car well maintained and serviced, and becoming informed about water quality rules and regulations locally are all ways that we can each get involved in supporting the quality of our water supply.


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