Water quality refers to the condition of the water as needed for things such as drinking water, agricultural needs, and wildlife. All life depends on clean water, but often unpolluted water is taken for granted.
About 70% of the Earth's surface is water, but only about 3% is fresh water, and only about 1% of that is easily accessible. That 1% is where we get most of our drinking water from. It is important to do what we can to keep it clean!
What is Happening to the Water Cycle?
The water cycle describes where on earth the water is and how it moves. Water can be in the atmosphere, on the surface, or underground. You can view a diagram of the natural water cycle here.
Humans change the flow of water when we develop the land. Paved surfaces, buildings, tilled land, all change the water cycle. Rainfall and snowmelt do not infiltrate the ground as readily, and more water flows quickly across surfaces. As the water travels across, it picks up pollutants such as chemicals, sediment, trash, and bacteria, and that ends up in our streams, rivers, and lakes.
We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.
- Jacques Cousteau
We recognize the impact we make on the quality of water. We strive to promote practices that will help preserve our fresh water sources, from those we can do in our backyards, to those the farmers do in their fields.
Clear Choices, Clean Water is a national program that increases awareness about how our choices affect water quality. Indiana's page has great information about water quality and pledges we can take to help keep our water clean - Indiana Clear Choices.
Be a Citizen Scientist
If you are interested in becoming more involved with our waterways, here are two sites to check out. First, the EPA has a good tool called How's My Waterway? Learn how clean waterways in your area are when it comes to swimming, fishing, and more.
If you want to take it further, consider Hoosier Riverwatch training! The free training will teach you more about water quality issues, and how to monitor your local streams. Check out their website or watch our calendar for upcoming training dates.