According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the leading cause of source water degradation is non-point source pollution, made up of surface runoff from our roads and lawns.(1) The rapid development of formerly undeveloped tracts exacerbates non-point source pollution making the land unable to trap and filter pollutants before they reached waterways. By preserving the undeveloped land along our rivers and streams, we allow natural areas to protect water quality by processing nutrients, filtering contaminants from surface runoff.(2) Wetlands and forested land, if left undeveloped, can help slow and filter water before it gets to lakes, rivers, and aquifers, keeping these drinking water sources cleaner and making treatment cheaper.
1. U.S. EPA, National Water Quality Inventory: 1998, Report to Congress (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 1998), EPA841-R-00-001.
2. Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Practices and Processes (Federal Interagency Stream
Restoration Working Group, FISRWG, 1998)