Mar 22, 2013

A Local Perspective on World Water Day

This is a good day to give you a heads-up on our Wednesday, May 1, Sustainability Forum. Today is World WaterDay 2013.

As you probably know, there’s a global water crisis. It’s not just about simple supply and demand. It’s an issue with broad implications related to women’s rights, global development, pollution and preventable deaths.

It’s more dire, of course, in other parts of the world.  More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world.
As the world population swells to over 7 billion people, and the demand for fresh water continues to grow with it, global leaders have called for greater innovation, advocacy and solutions.
To get your head around that, it helps to have a local perspective.
Take the Ipswich River watershed, for instance.  It’s home to about 160,000 of us here and includes about 21 towns here on the North Shore. It  provides drinking water to 335,000 people and thousands of businesses in 14 communities here. It’s a vital resource to us.
Did you know that in 1997 the Ipswich River was designated as one of the “20 Most Threatened Rivers in America”? In 2003 that designation was upgraded to one of the “10 Most Endangered Rivers in America” due to worsening flow conditions. The Ipswich is still considered a “stressed basin” under the hydrologic criteria developed by the Massachusetts Water Resources Commission.
photo by John Coulbourn

The Ipswich is a critical resource. It’s also one of the most beautiful features of our region. And that’s saying a lot.
Considering all that, we’re very happy to announce that our Forum on May 1 will feature Wayne Castonguay, Executive Director of the Ipswich River Watershed Association. While we spend some time on cleantech (see April 10 Forum with Cleantech Open!), we think it’s important sometimes to step back and appreciate what we have here. Water is not just an issue some place else.
P.S.  The Sustainability Forum is working to set up a canoe outing on the Ipswich River sometime in May. It’ll be a great opportunity to get you and your family out on the river for a couple of hours. Please let us know if you’re interested.

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