August is National Water Quality Month
National Water Quality Month is dedicated to making the most of the relatively small amount of fresh water we have, because having clean water is vital to our individual health, our collective agricultural needs, and the needs of our environment.
What is the Purpose of National Water Quality Month?
Just try to imagine what life would be like without easy access to clean water. There would be no fountains to quench your thirst when you’re out on a hot day. No more pools, and no more lakes and rivers clean enough for recreational activities. No more hour long showers. No more drinking water straight from the tap, or even filtering it through your Brita. No more running water in your house, period. In short, our lives would be totally different, and not for the better.
National Water quality month reminds us to take a moment to consider how important these water sources are not just to humans, but also to the other inhabitants of these ecosystems— whether it be the fish that live in the waters or the plants and animals that rely on these lakes and rivers for water just like we do. By thinking about the little things that you do on a daily basis that could have a negative effect on water quality, you’ll be one step closer to making a difference.
There are easily thousands of factors that can have a negative impact on the quality of your local water sources ranging from industrial pollutants like metal particulate, oils, and other chemicals to the pesticides we use in our own backyards.
How Did National Water Quality Month Start?
The history of National Water Quality Month originally dates back to two US congressional acts that were passed in the early 1970s in an effort to protect our water sources. Starting with the Clean Water Act that was passed in 1972, the federal government began taking steps to curb water pollution by making it illegal to dump high amounts of toxic materials into bodies of water. This set the standard for making sure that surface water was up to certain standards before being used for human consumption and recreation. In 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act was passed to further protect the quality of groundwater and public water systems.
From there, National Water Quality Month was founded in 2005 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and backed by the United Nations in an effort to promote civic discourse about how to conserve our natural water sources by starting conversations on what we can do in our own households and communities to ensure that we all have access to safe, clean drinking water for generations to come.
Since there are a limited amount of sources we get our water from, and we have yet to find a way to manufacture water, it’s vitally important to protect these sources.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), Clean Water Act (CWA), and the water utility companies themselves all play a part in making sure that the water that comes from our taps is always safe for use.