Water is essential for life but imagine if you couldn’t enjoy a cold glass of water without wondering if your next sip would make you sick. We often don’t think about where our water comes from, but maybe we should. Despite various regulations and water quality initiatives, contamination and pollution are still pressing issues today.
The National Water Quality Assessment identified agricultural nonpoint source pollution the leading cause of water contamination in rivers, streams and other large bodies of water. Water contamination is a byproduct of power companies, wastewater utilities, runoff and agricultural activities.
Though each state in the U.S. has specific quality standards under the Clean Water Act to help ensure safe drinking water, in 2015, nearly 77 million people still lived in locations with water systems that violated safety regulations.
So, what is the public doing to address this issue? Environmental agencies and communities have taken notice and are collaborating to protect the quality of water across the U.S.
How Environmental Agencies are Responding
To help prevent high levels of water contamination, farmers and other agencies are using conservation practices to counter environmental impacts. For example, The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) National Water Program aims to improve the quality of water at the national, regional, state, and local levels.
How You Can Help Keep Water Clean
It takes a village to counter the environmental impacts of water contamination. While environmental agencies work to protect and improve the quality of U.S. water resources, there are steps that you can take to prevent water contamination in your area:
- Use pesticides carefully: Minimize risks to water by carefully planning the application of pesticides. Take into consideration weather conditions, drain flow, soil conditions and field situations. For more information, check out Best Management Practices for Agricultural Pesticides to Protect Water Resources.
- Manage soil correctly: Reduce the risk of pesticide or phosphate loss and water contamination by keeping your soil well managed.
- Maintain irrigation systems: Apply excess water to your fields, and make sure your irrigation system is dispersing consistent, uniform coverage.
- Test soil regularly: Periodically test your soil to ensure you are using the right amount of fertilizer. Take samples from several areas and combine them to form a single sample for a complete analysis. Learn how to perform your own soil pH test.
Let’s work together to keep our water clean. What steps do you take to prevent water contamination?