Not Just a Drop in the Bucket

This morning I woke up, brushed my teeth, took a shower, brewed a cup of tea and made a bowl of oatmeal, filled my iron and pressed my clothes, washed my dishes, got ready for work and went to the office.

With the exception of turning off the faucet as I was brushing, and being mindful of how long a shower I was taking, I didn’t give much thought to my water usage in general. I gave only a passing through to where my water was coming from, if it was clean, or if there would be enough for me to complete the normal, daily tasks I take for granted.

It’s only a matter of time before I no longer have that luxury.

There are many reasons for this: climate change increasing droughts and flooding; poor infrastructure which can’t manage surges; pollution from sewage spills and stormwater runoff, nonexistent or minimal river and stream buffer requirements, outdated and crumbling dams which impede a river’s ability to thrive… The list goes on.

American Rivers is working on each of these issues. From our work with green infrastructure to creating blue trails,  from striving to create Wild and Scenic designations to lobbying for legislation that protects our rivers and waterways, we’re working hard to meet the pressing issues surrounding our water.

Nowhere is the fight for clean water more glaring than in the Upper Delaware region. A process called hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) threatens the watershed that provides drinking water for 17 million people in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Yes. That’s 17 million people. With an “illion.”

It was because of fracking that we named the Upper Delaware 2010’s #1 Most Endangered River. This natural gas extraction technique injects chemicals into the ground to force out the gas and creates untreatable toxic wastewater which leeches into our rivers and streams. It’s not entirely known what chemicals are used but we do know that as a direct result of fracking, millions of people are losing the ability to take their clean water supply for granted.

This process is not regionalized to the Upper Delaware. Throughout the country, regular homeowners are having to battle large corporations with more resources, money and determination over the right to clean drinking water. As a result, we’re asking Congress to pass the _îùFracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2009_îù, to repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act, and give the Environmental Protection Agency oversight of the process.

You can help us, and the millions of people in the United States who can’t take their clean water for granted, by taking action today.

This blog post is part of a larger online conversation about water. October 15, 2010 is’s Blog Action Day and this year, we’re all talking about water. How will you contribute? Visit to join the discussion.