August 28, 2008
You might hear the well known campaign phrase “It’s the economy stupid” because of the upcoming presidential election, but you might also hear it at this year’s Great Miami River Days festival when talking about the health of our water resources.
Most people understand that clean water is important to stay healthy, but few understand its link to financial prosperity. One of the greatest resources and drivers in any economy is water. Every service and good you can produce has a “water value.” For example, can you believe it has been estimated that it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of hamburger? That starts with the water to grow the grain to feed the cow, the water the cow drinks, the water to clean and process the beef, and so on. And that’s just one example. If you look at everyday items around you, it is astounding how much water it takes to live in a modern society. That is why most major cities in Ohio are located on a major waterway. Water is the foundation for a prosperous community. It plays a vital role in agriculture, industry, transportation, recreation, and even tourism.
Fortunately, Ohio is blessed with a wealth of water resources. We have Lake Erie to the north, the Ohio River to the south, and an abundance of groundwater beneath our feet. But that doesn’t mean we should waste it or take it for granted. We need to be wise enough to conserve and protect our water resources to ensure the quality of life and standard of living we now enjoy is available for many generations to come.
The Great Miami River Days festival focuses on water resource education to help people understand not only how water flows through the land, but how it flows through and is connected to every aspect of their lives. We need water to live, to work and to play. Water quality not only affects the health of the environment, but it also affects the health of the economy — agriculture, industry, transportation, tourism — and most importantly it affects human health. Our purpose is to teach people to understand the value of water resources so that they will care enough to protect them.
“In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught.”— Baba Diouma, naturalist