Did you know that the U.S. is home to more than 3.6 million miles of rivers? (See state specific data.) Freshwater rivers and streams sustain our communities by providing drinking and irrigation water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and more. While it may seem like fresh water is an abundant resource – especially during times of heavy rainfall and flooding – the amount of fresh water available to us is smaller than you might think. If all the world’s water fit into a gallon jug, the fresh water available for us to use would equal only about one tablespoon. During periods of dry weather and drought – the conditions that 83 percent of the western United States are facing now – some rivers and streams may disappear altogether.
June is National Rivers Month, the perfect time to protect and enjoy our rivers.
Conserve fresh water supplies. The average American household wastes more than 10,000 gallons of water every year from easy-to-fix household leaks – that’s the amount of water it takes to wash 270 loads of laundry! Avoid wasting water outside by checking your sprinkler system for leaks and misdirected sprinkler heads. Inside, fix leaky faucets and shower heads or replace them with water-efficient WaterSense fixtures.
Protect water quality at home. Pollutants that are carried away from yards and streets with rain water – like fertilizers, pesticides, oil and pet waste – can go right into our rivers and streams, untreated. Taking simple steps at home, like waiting for dry weather before applying fertilizer and always picking up after your pet, can go a long way in protecting water quality.
Discover the outdoors. Rivers and streams offer ample opportunities for enjoying time outdoors wildlife watching, fishing and boating. Find places to boat and fish where you live.