March 22nd gives us time to stop and reflect on one of the most important issues facing humanity in the 21st century—water and how we manage it.
World Water Day is an opportunity to discuss a topic that many of us take for granted. We are lucky enough to live in a country where access to clean water is a given. We turn on a faucet and potable water comes out.
Of course we hear stories in the news about water pollution issues and various initiatives to more effectively manage the resources we have, but for the most part, the challenges related to water consumption and pollution remain abstract and outside the concerns of our day-to-day lives.
Today we recognize the people and organizations that devote their time and effort to managing this precious resource and acknowledge their willingness to act when there is not the political or commercial motivation to do so.
The Otter Project has made water quality a priority over the last 12 years. Through our advocacy work and the support of various partner organizations, we have been a watch dog for the health of our local water systems and when necessary, taken legal action to protect them.
As recently as last week, and due in large part to our ongoing efforts, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board unanimously passed a new agricultural waiver that will begin to address the issues of surface water toxicity and nutrients, groundwater, storm water and riparian protection in California.
This is a huge step forward in ensuring the future health of our rivers and to hold those that pollute them accountable. We no longer live in an era when a continued and unlimited source of fresh water is guaranteed—protecting what we have and managing its usage is paramount.
As ever, there are new and arising challenges that dilute the progress water quality advocates have made. Just this week the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to cut all federal funding for beach water quality testing in 2013, placing 90 million people at risk from polluted water in the coming year.
Now is not the time for half-measures. Ongoing efforts to repair and protect our river and coastal water systems must remain a priority for the sake of our natural environment and the legacy that we will pass onto our children.
On World Water Day we are asking for your help with 2 things:
- E-mail the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board at email@example.com and tell them that you support their decision to regulate agricultural run-off of pesticides and fertilizers
- Write to EPA Director Lisa Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org and your representatives and let them know that beach water quality testing is important to you and that funding should be restored to the Beach Act program in the interest of public health.
The Otter Project will continue to demand that government protect our precious resources from overzealous commercial interests and not hold them hostage to short sighted economic interests.
Water and how we use it will be one of the most important issues in the coming years. Helping support those that protect it and look out for the public’s best interest is crucial.
For more information about the Central Coast Agricultural Waiver, please contact Steve Shimek at 831-646-8837.
For more information about water quality and other issues join us at The Otter Project at http://www.otterproject.org.