March: Clean Waterways


It’s Leah, the Live Green! Social Media Engagement Intern. I am excited to share with you everything that is happening this month! 

March’s social media campaign, Clean Waterways, will share insight into why keeping waterways clean is an important part of our economy and our planet as a whole. With World Water Day being March 22, it’s the perfect time to break out the campaign. Read on to learn more about the evolution and impact of water.

You may be wondering, what’s the importance of clean water? Clean water is vital in keeping our health, community, and economy stable. More specifically, we depend on clean water for food, products, recreation, energy, and much more. Individually and collectively each of us serves vital roles in keeping our water clean and there are so many ways to assist. These may include but are not limited to: limiting chemical use and disposing of chemicals correctly, flushing responsibly (avoiding non-flushable materials), keeping up with car maintenance, and more. 

With the concern for clean water in our society, economy and environment, it was necessary for the United States to create the Clean Water Act in October of 1972 to ensure our water was protected. Last March, we actually celebrated 50 years of the Clean Water Act being in effect. It gave Americans a right to waterways that are clean, biologically intact and safe for use. More specifically, the act established a structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into US waters and regulating quality standards for surface waters. To learn more about the importance and impact of the Clean Water Act, check out the “Summary of the Clean Water Act” on the webpage.

Further evidence of the crucial role clean water serves, is set forth by the Clean Water Rule. The Clean Water Rule protects streams and wetlands that are scientifically shown to have the greatest impact on downstream water quality and form the foundation of our nation’s water resources. More information about clean water legislation can be found on the “Clean Water Rule” factsheet on the webpage.

Regarding clean water, not all water is equally consumable. It’s important to know the difference between potable and non-potable water and its uses. Potable water is stored water that is suitable for human consumption. Potable water has more uses than just drinking, as it is the water that we use for washing our dishes and utensils or any purpose that might result in the ingestion of water or when water comes into contact with the skin. Non-potable water differs from potable water in the way that it is not appropriate for human consumption. Non-potable water is not suitable for human contact, however, it has a variety of uses such as plumbing, gardening, washing machine water, toilet, urinal flushing, etc. While not all water is consumable, all water has a function. To learn more about potable and non-potable water, check out “The Difference Between Potable and Non Potable Water” on 

As well as concerns for clean water, one of the most pressing issues our planet is currently facing with water, as a resource, is scarcity. Billions of people around the world lack adequate access to clean water, one of the most essential elements of life. At the moment, there are specific countries that are really having a hard time dealing with water scarcity. The Middle East and North Africa are the most in danger in terms of physical water stress. They receive less rainfall than other regions, and their countries typically have fast-growing, densely populated cities and community centers that require more water. If you check out the image below, you can visually see which parts of the world are getting seriously affected by this. Be sure to check out the “Water Stress: A Global Problem That’s Getting Worse” article on the webpage.

Each year the growing consideration of water scarcity is recognized through World Water Day. Originally introduced to celebrate the importance of fresh water, this day advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources and accelerated change to solve the water and sanitation crisis. Learn more about World Water Day by checking out the webpage.

The 30th anniversary of World Water Day, happening in 2023, offers a great opportunity to challenge ourselves to assist in supporting this year’s theme of “Accelerating Change”. There are so many actions you can do that will help out and keep our waterways clean. Head over to the webpage and click on the “Act” tab to find what people are doing in your area to help out. For example, in Europe and Northern America, the three most popular actions are saving water, minimizing pollution, and eating locally. If you continue to scroll down further, you can actually create your own personalized action list!

As we move forward throughout the year, water and the health of our world waterways are considerations for every day, not just World Water Day. We can take many actions to contribute to our environment, economy and society regarding clean waterways. Making an individual difference by saving water could be as easy as taking shorter showers or not letting the tap run when brushing your teeth. 

Other opportunities can result in a community difference including volunteering for clean water initiatives including Iowa Project Aware (one week each summer, kids and adults come together on a river to pick up trash), and engaging with Water Rocks! (an award-winning statewide youth water education program that fosters the interplay of knowledge, caring, and engagement), or helping out at our very own College Creek Cleanup (volunteers from both campus and the Ames community walk the creek and its surrounding banks, filling bags of trash along the way). 

Truly any day, any season offers the opportunity to choose actions and make decisions toward a sustainable and water-secure future. For some ideas to get started take this month’s challenge in the Live Green! Monthly newsletter.

Consider the Live Green! Leadership Team as your sustainable resource for connection to information, events and opportunities to get involved with sustainability on campus, and also throughout the community. Stay tuned for a month of tips, resources, connections and “did you know” stories and posts on our social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, as we round out this month’s campaign. And stay tuned for April’s Earth Day Everyday campaign.


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