WHY ARE WE WASTING OUR WATER
According to the latest National Water Quality Inventory (EPA 2004), 30% of assessed estuaries (7,641 sq. mi.), 44% of assessed rivers (246,002 mi.), and 64% of assessed lakes (10,451,402 acres) are impaired relative to: (1) designated uses (fishing, swimming, or drinking), (2) chemical/biological criteria to protect those designated uses, and (3) antidegradation policies to protect those water bodies that currently meet the criteria from degrading to impaired. Leading causes of impairment include heavy metals, nutrients, pathogens, and low dissolved oxygen. Stormwater runoff from urban, industrial, and agricultural areas contributes heavily to these sources and can be addressed via low-impact development, green infrastructure, and implementing basic best management practices at every level of development. While it might seem more costly, LID is actually less expensive (19% savings in capital construction costs relative to conventional design) to construct. That, coupled with subsequent reductions in water treatment costs, means that we might be able to stop the dramatic rise in drinking water costs documented throughout the U.S.