With our drinking water regarded as some of the best in the world, water shortage and pollution isn't popularly regarded as an issue of ours. However, our water supply is still in danger.
Memphis gets its clean drinking water from an underground aquifer where water has been naturally filtered for more than 2,000 years. This finite resource is being consumed at tremendous rates, potentially faster than it can be replaced, which could result in the end of our clean water supply.
More than 4 million people get their drinking water from the Mississippi River
Even more threatening to Memphians than the over-consumption of our water is the contamination of the aquifers and rivers. It was thought that a layer of clay kept surface water contamination from leaking into the aquifers, but it is now shown not to be the case. At least one vulnerable leak in the aquifer is beneath a landfill near Walnut Grove and is leaking unknown toxins into our water.
Then there are our rivers. Did you know that trash on the streets of Memphis - bottles, cigarette butts, car oil - goes down our storm drains and is dumped unfiltered into the Mississippi River? That pollution does not stay in our water supply, but moves downstream to contaminate the water supplies for Mississippi, Louisiana, and the flora and fauna of the Gulf of Mexico. More than 4 million people get their drinking water from the Mississippi River - water we're polluting daily.
So what can you do? The Mississippi River Corridor has published "Nine Things You Can Do for the Mississippi River" - a list that includes individually achievable items like keeping trash out of the storm drains and buying local and organic produce to reduce pesticides in our water.