New Web Site Recognizes Water Heroes

American Water of Voorhees, N.J., has partnered with GreenTreks Network, a Philadelphia, Pa.-based nonprofit, to celebrate water heroes and inspire others to follow their lead through a kid-friendly web portal, the American Water Hydro School. The site also provides information for teachers.

"In the thirty years since the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act became law, a tremendous amount has been done to protect our water resources," says Kimberly Cooper, director of external communications at American Water, "particularly on the industrial front. Today, the country's most serious water quality problem is nonpoint source pollution, or run-off -- and that's where individuals come into play."

Of all environmental problems, Americans say they worry most about water pollution. And rightfully so: while one-half of U.S. drinking water comes from rivers, more than one-third of the rivers and streams are considered "impaired." The groundwater sources that account for the other half of our drinking water are just as vulnerable and many aquifers are affected by pollution even though the problems aren't readily seen.

The good news is that all across the nation, more and more people are recognizing that their personal activities affect water quality -- and that they can improve the situation by taking simple actions and getting involved, whatever their age.

"The American Water Hydro School is a perfect example of GreenTreks mission in action," says Maria Erades, executive director of GreenTreks Network. "The Web site has games, video clips, and plenty of background information about water issues, along with suggested activities for parents and teachers to do with their children at home or out in their local watershed. The best part is that kids can share their stories with their friends -- and become water heroes themselves."

The site currently shows how a group of fourth grade students from Philadelphia's Roxborough section replanted the streambank near their school to prevent erosion and filter pollutants that would otherwise wash into the Schuylkill River. The Schuylkill is a major source of drinking water for the city.

The American Water Hydro School was developed with input from numerous water education organizations.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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