What is a Watershed and Why is it Important?

In the U.S., we don’t often have to face the reality of the world’s water crisis. We have what seems like unlimited access to clean water. But the truth is that many of our waterways are polluted, starting with our watersheds. Let’s talk about watersheds and why they are important.  

What is a Watershed? 

A watershed is an area of land that drains or “sheds” rainwater or water from melting snow and ice into receiving bodies of water, such as rivers, streams, or lakes. These bodies of water provide us with the water we use daily. Eventually, the water ends up emptying into the ocean. 

Why are Watersheds important? 

Because the water from watersheds makes it to every single body of water in the world, they are essential to our well-being. When watersheds are contaminated, the water used on a daily basis also becomes contaminated. Therefore, the health and protection of watersheds is essential to each of us. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 450 billion dollars in foods, fiber, manufactured goods, and tourism depend on clean, healthy watersheds.

Are Our Current Watersheds Healthy? 

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the watersheds in the U.S. are not in a healthy state, particularly in areas that have been urbanized, farmed, or mined. However, there are watersheds throughout the country that have been well-maintained and regulated by local and federal protection agencies. Controlled and monitored watersheds greatly benefit the surrounding communities. 

What is Being Done to Protect and Restore Watersheds?

Many federal and state programs are working hard to sustain healthy watersheds through monitoring, regulations, and conservation efforts. In areas with watersheds in poor health, officials are working to educate their constituents and implement regulations when it comes to water conservation, as well as pollution from farms, roads, and waste. Whenever land is disturbed, watersheds are disturbed, creating  a lot of factors to consider. You can learn more about watershed protection and restoration from the Center for Watershed Protection.

What Can you Do to Help?

There are a lot of ways that you can support the health and restoration of watersheds. Here are a few simple solutions you can work into your day-to-day routine: 

  • Move away from using chemical-based cleaners
  • Pick up after your pets and dispose of their waste in the toilet or trash
  • Conserve water daily by taking shorter showers, fixing leaks, and turning off the water when not in use.
  • Use building materials for decks and walkways that allow water to soak in and not run off, such as gravel, wood, or brick.

Environmental Protection is important to Filtrol. We want to be part of the solution to get back to real water. We’re doing our part to fight against microfiber pollution in our waterways. Learn more about our solution and join us in taking action to keep water clean.