The Clean Water Blog

Back to the Future -- Water in Trouble Again

A version of this post was originally featured on SurveyMonkey’s blog, and includes additional information on new survey results affirming the public’s overwhelming support for clean water.

Once Upon a Time: When Rivers Caught Fire

Not too long ago, things were pretty bad for our water. Unchecked industrial discharges and poorly-treated sewage in our water meant that massive fish-kills were commonplace. Lakes were “dead” or dying, and rivers containing more waste than water actually caught fire. It was around that time, in the 1970s, when Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund got their start. The organizations’ missions were – and remain – focused on a goal and vision of fishable, swimmable, drinkable water for all Americans. Fast-forward four decades. Laws such as the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, created and passed with help from Clean Water Action and others, have brought incredible progress on water cleanup, water restoration and water protection. Everyone has benefited. Our clean water progress is one of the great environmental success stories of our time.

Back to the Future – Water in Trouble

But now things are getting pretty bad for our water, again. Here’s what’s going on:

  • New Threats to Our Water – New pollution threats or old ones not yet addressed by laws like the Clean Water Act have started to gain ground. New chemicals enter the marketplace and our water at a far faster pace than the laws can keep up with.
  • Old Problems Getting Worse – Pollution that enters the water from our air or runs off the land has yet to be effectively controlled, and its impact has grown to the point where it is now a leading cause of contamination in many waterways.
  • Too Much Deferred Maintenance – Pipes and treatment plants that supply our clean water and to treat our wastes are getting old and outdated. They are starting to fail.

Thanks to Clean Water organizations like ours these problems are well understood, along with many of the steps needed to start fixing them so that continued progress can be made.

Polluters Gaining the Upper Hand?

Our water now faces another kind of threat, as well. In Congress and in too many of our state capitals, alarming numbers of politicians have declared war on our water. A majority in the U.S. House is now on record in favor of Dirty Water, with votes for H.R. 2018, a bill that would cripple the Clean Water Act. That vote was only one among 191 which passed the House in 2011 – an average of one dirty water or anti-environmental, anti-health vote for each day the House was in session. How to respond? We need to make sure that the voices of people who care about our water are being heard. We need to make sure that officials who have taken on an extreme agenda that benefits a small number of the nation’s largest polluters – at everyone else’s expense – are held accountable for their votes to weaken water and health protections Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund bring people together to advance our shared values, building a clean water future for everyone. We educate, involve and organize people one-on-one where they live, work and play, to take a more active role in decisions that affect our water and our health. We show people how they can make a difference for our water, individually through actions in their own homes and daily lives – and collectively, by joining with others to make the majority’s support for clean water more of a force to be reckoned with. Take Action for Clean Water here. Read the full original SurveyMonkey blog on Clean Water here for more on what the public thinks about these issues and a new way to support Clean Water through the SurveyMonkey Contribute program.