It’s been almost 2 months since half a million residents of Toledo, Ohio and surrounding communities were told not to drink their water after unsafe levels of toxins, caused by Lake Erie algal blooms, were found at a city water treatment plant.
A new video created by NRDC and American Rivers reminds all of us of the urgent need to act to prevent another drinking water crisis from affecting the lives – and livelihoods – of tens of thousands of people.
Each of us can do something to prevent the next drinking water crisis. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers proposed a rule to restore Clean Water Act protections to wetlands and tributary streams that provide important filters for nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients that can fuel algae blooms (you can read more about the history of the rule here). The Great Lakes region has already lost about 66 percent of its historic wetlands; Ohio has lost 90 percent of its wetlands, the second highest loss rate in the nation.
The Clean Water Protection rule will ensure that the drinking water for more than 117 million Americans, including more than 30.6 million in the Great Lakes Basin, will be better protected after more than a decade in legal limbo. This includes the more than 60% of Ohio streams that serve as surface water sources of drinking water.
Wetlands do more than capture nutrients; they are called “nature’s sponges” because of their ability to soak up rainwater – one acre of wetlands can store 1-1.5 million gallons of floodwater. Wetlands also provide critical habitat – about two-thirds of Ohio’s threatened and endangered species require wetlands during some point in their life cycle.
So, do your part -- click here to urge your U.S. senators to support the Clean Water Protection Rule. You'll join hundreds of thousands of people who have already weighed in on the importance of protecting the waterbodies that feed into our drinking water supplies, protect the health of our children and power our economy.