Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | February 9, 2011

Drinking Water for One in Three In Jeopardy

Dog enjoying a cool creek

From 2001-2008, protections under the Clean Water Act have been weakened, jeopardizing the safety of God’s small streams and wetlands. As a result, we are truly starting to see havoc being wreaked on our drinking water and God’s Creation.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates one third of Americans get their drinking water from public supplies fed in whole or in part by intermittent or ephemeral streams that now lack pollution protections. God’s creatures that rely on these streams do not have water testing kits, iodine tablets, or Brita filters. They are being poisoned. Even for people, drinking water is expensive and difficult to treat. Some contaminants (such as the recently discovered carcinogen chromium-6 found in many cities’ drinking water supplies) are extremely hard to remove.  The city of New York recently estimated that pollution of small streams and wetlands in the city’s drinking water source areas could cost up to $6 billion for treatment plant construction and $300 million/year for operation.

NCC Eco-Justice Tools to Steward Waters

Wetlands and intermittent streams are also vital to God’s ecosystems that protect creation from floods. More than half of all United States wetlands have been lost, and another 20 million acres are in danger. In the past five years, flood damages have cost taxpayers $15 billion annually. For every 1% loss of wetlands, flood volume goes up 7%. Illinois and Iowa have been hit especially hard, and 85% of their wetlands has been lost.

While we wait for the EPA and Congress create guidelines, rules, and legislation to restore the Clean Water Act protections we need, everyday people of faith can take action now to steward God’s waters.

NCC offers Christian education curricula, worship resources, and action toolkits for watershed stewardship than can be downloaded here.

We also have special resources for churches in the national treasure of the Chesapeake Bay watershed here.

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