Monday is World Water Day, an international observance organized by the United Nations. This year’s theme is Clean Water for a Healthy World

Sadly, many of us take water for granted. We cannot explain how the water coming out of our faucets makes its way into our homes. We look at local rivers and assume they’ll always look the same. 

Water is often incorrectly perceived as an infinite resource. By 2015, however, many U.S. states may face water shortages and a consequent loss of ecosystems that can affect daily life. 

Conservation is critical, as we depend on water for drinking, watering crops, maintaining the oceans’ fish supply, lighting our homes and transportation. Organizations like The Nature Conservancy sponsor hundreds of river and lake projects throughout the United States, working to ensure our drinking water is clean and safe. 

This year, the Conservancy has teamed with Crystal Light to support five local river and lake projects: 

  1. Colorado River. Touching seven states, the river has been affected by rapid population growth in the west.
  2. Great Lakes Basin. Holding 20% of the fresh surface water on Earth, the Great Lakes’ resources are in trouble—a result of climate change, water development and use.
  3. Meramec River. Part of the Mississippi River, the Meramec supplies drinking water to more than 15 million people and serves as a habitat for thousands of fish, birds and other wildlife. Over time, it has been threatened by excessive use and is one of the Conservancy’s highest priorities.
  4. Potomac River. The Potomac provides drinking water to 4.3 million people in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Rapid population growth and water management systems in several communities have impacted it.
  5. Southern rivers. Southern rivers and streams, such as the Pascagoula River in Mississippi and the Flint River in Georgia, span all 15 southern states. Recent droughts and increasing water demands have threatened these important bodies of water. 

The Conservancy is seeking volunteers to help with these and other projects. For more information, click here

For Your Organic Bookshelf: Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to Do About It 

Photo courtesy of ARA