Earth Stewards Blog

A variety of information and inspiration on how we as Christians can be better stewards of God's gift to us, our planet

Protect our Water: Reduce Polluted Runoff

Posted by admin on May 31, 2014

Water, the giver of life. We come into this world when the water sustaining us in the womb breaks free, signaling that birth has begun. Water sustains us all our days here on Earth. Scientists report that we can live only about three days without water but ten times longer without food.

The EPA estimates that the average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water daily. What if the water coming out of our taps wasn t plentiful and/or clean? The focus of our lives would immediately shift to addressing this essential ingredient to life that so many of us take for granted. Have you ever been anywhere in the world where you couldn t drink from the tap?

I spent last summer in China, and you cannot drink the water from the faucet anywhere in this country that claims almost 20 percent of the world's population. This means that when you bathe you must be careful not to take any water into your mouth or nose. Any water you ingest for toothbrushing, drinking or cooking must be boiled or bottled. That is a lot of boiling (and energy use) every day for the 1.4 billion people of China. Thankfully, in our country we can drink right out of the tap and suffer no ill effects.

Polluted runoff is an important issue in our country and threatens to ruin the quality of our water. There are many causes of this pollution and extensive asphalt is a primary contributor to the problem. Our country has almost 4 million miles of paved roads and that does not include parking lots, sidewalks and other manmade, impervious structures that prevent the cleansing percolation of water through soil.

When water is able to move through the soil, many of the pollutants can be effectively cleaned, naturally. Polluted storm water runoff is the biggest source of water pollution in our country. Almost half of the lakes, rivers, streams and coastal waters of America are polluted. Some simple things to do to stem this tide include:

  • Wash your car on your lawn or at a commercial carwash, not on your driveway or street.
  • Recycle yard waste.
  • Sweep driveways and sidewalks. Do not hose them down.
  • Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly, if at all.

Dean Naujoks is our Yadkin Riverkeeper. Dean and the staff of Yadkin Riverkeeper are doing very important work as they work to improve and maintain the water quality of the Yadkin River, drinking water source to over 730,000 people.

Yadkin Riverkeeper is a subsidiary of Waterkeeper Alliance. You may have read about the lengths our Riverkeeper has gone to in battles with Alcoa over the years and the Coal Ash Spill earlier this year. You may have heard Dean speak at the recent Moravian Environmental Leadership Conference at Laurel Ridge or elsewhere around the Triad. Dean and his small staff work tirelessly to keep your water clean and plentiful.

Consider learning about and joining the work of the Yadkin Riverkeeper. Click here for information. Be sure and take a look at June’s Tour de Yadkin event, a month long series of opportunities to learn about and have fun on the river. Working with the Yadkin Riverkeeper is a great way to actively live out the "serve" component of Love. Live. Serve. Without water, we can't do anything after three days.

—Submitted by Helen Bushnell Beets for the Earth Stewards Team