Healthy watersheds keep recycling clean, fresh water, over and over again. How do they do it? Swamps, marshes and other wetlands can filter polluted water and make it cleaner. Other parts of a watershed, like streams, GROUNDWATER and even the beach, are important as well. That's one reason why we need to make sure to leave enough wetlands and other natural areas in each watershed. Sometimes it's tricky to balance the needs of people with the needs of their watershed, but we sure have to try. If we do it right, there's still room for plants and animals to live and everybody gets an endless supply of clean water.
Why should you care if your watershed is healthy or not?
Did you use water today? How many times?
- Did you drink water, or something with water in it like juice or soda?
- Did you brush your teeth?
- How about taking a bath or shower?
- Maybe you helped wash the car?
- Or gave some water to your pets or plants?
We use water plenty of times, each and every day. Over half your body is water! Living in a healthy watershed means you have a never-ending supply of the clean water that you need every day.
Why else should you care about your watershed? How about:
Farms need clean water for their crops and animals. You don't want to eat food that was grown with polluted water do you?
Many businesses and industries need a lot of water to operate, so a healthy watershed means jobs. Did you know it takes about 1,800 gallons (6,840 liters) of water to make a pair of cotton jeans? How about 32,000 gallons (121,600 liters) to make the steel in a car?
Do you like to go swimming? Or boating? Do you like to canoe, fish or water-ski? You wouldn't want to do these things in polluted water. Everybody loves floating down the river, boating at the lake or swimming at the seashore. But if we use too much water or carelessly develop too much of the watershed, then we lose our natural water parks, the best places to play. We have to be careful not to pollute as well, or beaches and rivers will make people sick and end up being closed.
It's a privilege to live in a healthy watershed, and people are willing to pay for it. Property near a clean beach, river or lake is very valuable. And not just to us!
Though they can't tell us directly, plants and animals need healthy watersheds just like we do, maybe even more. A healthy watershed means a healthy environment for them to live and grow in.