Water and the infrastructure of water supply have become invisible to the public to such a degree that their existence is taken for granted. Most of us do not live in a world where water is not easily available. It is always there when we turn on the tap and we never seem to run out of it. However, water, like any other commodity we enjoy, is a finite product. Also, the infrastructure that carries it to us is breakable and fallible. What’s more, it’s been known to fail.
Protecting our assets has become one of the most important concerns today, although this perspective is not yet a part of public consciousness to the degree that it warrants. The problem is wide-scale and touches everyone who is a consumer of water in one way or another. As one of the members of the Nine Mile Run committee of Pittsburgh puts it, since the problem involves every member of the community, so should the solution. Citizen activism can create an impetus towards change, as the Surf Rider group of Los Angeles has shown.
Environmental science as predicted that many parts of the world are set to run out of naturally occurring groundwater before this century is halfway through. In light of such a dismal prognosis, participation of every consumer -- large or small -- is critical to its prevention.
Communal participation begins with education of the public. Awareness of the problem can lead to better management. When water consumers monitor their behavior, they are likely to note the inefficiencies and mismanagement of water supplies. It is also important to help community members change their behaviors and give them tools to make those changes possible. Though some large scale and infrastructural changes require government participation and funding, personal responsibility and contributions can significantly help increase the efficiency of existing infrastructure.
What can citizens do to help sustain their water resources?
The environmental group in this video educates people through community meetings. What other modes do you think should be employed for effective communication?
Should citizens be responsible for or should they cooperate in the management of water resources? Discuss with your class.
“…everything that’s dropped on the ground is part of your watershed now.” This is a statement made by one of the participants in the community meeting. How do you think this changes the scope of activities aimed toward watershed management?
Research other stream restoration attempts in the United States and discuss them in class.
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