Protecting Water in Connecticut in 2017
We generally think of Connecticut as water rich with abundant sources that supply drinking water for the 3.5 million residents of the state and support recreation, fishing, boating and wildlife habitat. We enjoy the nation's highest standards for drinking water and have ecologically sensitive laws that protect stream flow and wetlands.
Yet, our waters are under threat and Clean Water Action is working hard on multiple fronts to raise awareness and advocate for protections. Here are some of the concerns:
Polluted Runoff: Rain and snowmelt that flows over impervious surfaces such as parking lots, roads and buildings picks up many toxic chemicals from tires, oil and gas, pesticides, salts and other snow treatment chemicals. This polluted water flows into storm drains and directly into our rivers and streams. We are planning to work with communities across the state to support green infrastructure, rain gardens and other measures to reduce this significant source of water pollution.
Over-allocations of water: As a result of an outdated system for allocating water, the amount of water that can be legally pumped out of rivers and streams often exceeds their total flow! It should not be legal to pump a stream dry and we are working right now, along with other environmental advocates, to update regulations that prevent this from happening.
Corporatization and sale of our water: Niagara, a California water bottling company gained rights from the Bloomfield town council and the Metropolitan District Commission to withdraw up to 1.8 million gallons of water per day out of the Farmington River Watershed for sale, with no environmental review, no restrictions during times of drought and they got millions of dollars in tax abatements! Clean Water Action has been fighting to pass state legislation that closes these legal loopholes, requires an environmental permit, restrictions during drought and fair and equitable rates for water bottlers.
Climate change: We're already experiencing effects of climate change including devastating storms like super storm Sandy, unpredictable weather patterns that affect stream flow, warmer temperatures that affect streams, rivers and fish and we continue to experience a state-wide drought! We must re-think how we use and protect our water. Clean Water Action is launching a campaign across the state to expand water conservation and actions that will mitigate the climate change impacts to our waters.