Pennsylvania’s freshwater resources support vast forests, thriving wildlife populations, and a diverse population of people who rely on clean water for consumption, recreation, and jobs.
- Managing Runoff |
- For Flood Prevention |
- To Improve Water Quality |
- For The Economy |
- To Enhance Quality of Life |
To Improve Water Quality
Earth is often called “The Water Planet” because oceans cover 71% of its surface. Of all the water on Earth, only 2.7% is fresh water—and of that, most is frozen in glaciers and ice caps. Less than one half of one percent of all of the world’s water is fresh water that’s actually available for living things to use.
In Pennsylvania, we’re blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, much of it related to our water resources: our landscape is entwined with 83,161 miles of streams and more than 3,900 lakes, reservoirs, and ponds. Water is the lifeblood of the Commonwealth, supporting vast forests, abundant fish and wildlife, and a wide array of human uses that draw more than four billion gallons of ground and surface water per day.
It’s no wonder that water quality is a constant concern, or that the negative impacts of stormwater have become such a big deal.
Reducing imperviousness and maintaining wetlands, grasslands, and other vegetated areas helps buffer the effects of stormwater runoff. Plants, roots, soil, and leaf litter trap sediments, debris, and particulates that would otherwise make their way into waterways.
When we enable infiltration, we facilitate the recharge of the aquifers and groundwater supplies that flow into the rivers we use for our drinking water supplies.
Trees and other plants act as water filters by absorbing nutrients and other dissolved impurities through their roots and converting them into plant tissue, which helps maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems for wildlife, recreation, aesthetic enjoyment, and drinking water use.
By most estimates, the nationwide value of these essential “ecosystem services” runs into billions of dollars a year.