Water is the essential component to life. About 70% of the earth is covered in water, only about 2% of the earth’s water is used as drinking water, and 18% of global fresh water comes from the Great Lakes Basin.
Approximately 90% of our drinking water comes from river. Pennsylvania is known across the country for its beautiful three rivers and is home to more than 80,000 stream miles. Unfortunately, human activities impact our waterways by releasing pollutants including: dirt, oil, grease, gasoline, chemicals used to treat asphalt and concrete and fertilizers. In addition, humans are being affected by contaminants in the water. Treatment systems don't have the ability to remove certain chemicals from our water including surfactants in detergents, pharmaceutical items and particular ingredients in our personal care products.
We can take the following steps to protect our drinking water:
- capture rain water at home by using strategies such as rain barrels
- conserve water in our homes and offices by looking at redesign in buildings, as well as low impact development strategies
- reduce nutrient loads to our waterways by eliminating pesticide use and selecting safer methods for lawn and garden care
- use reclaimed water for non-potable uses
- properly dispose of pharmaceutical items
- consider purchasing a home or office filtration system (such as a reverse-osmosis system)
- support "green" innovation in manufacturing
- conserve our forested landscapes