Economy, public health, ecosystems threatened without new direction in freshwater management by public and private sectors, diverse coalition cautionsFor more information, contact Ricki Weisberg Ndege 202-412-3775 |firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON – September 16, 2010 - Green For All has joined a diverse coalition of businesses, farmers, environmental organizations, and government agencies today in issuing a landmark call to action aimed at heading off a national crisis in water quality and supply that could affect the nation's economy, the livability of our communities, and the health of our ecosystems. The call to action comes in a report, "Charting New Waters: A Call to Action to Address U.S. Freshwater Challenges," that is the culmination of an intensive two-year collaboration exploring solutions to U.S. freshwater challenges. It was presented to the Obama Administration before being released to the public during a noon forum where Cecilia Estolano, Green For All's Chief Strategist on State and Local Initiatives, spoke. "Energy may be America's most obvious resource challenge, but water is on the verge of becoming just as big a problem if we don't act now," says Estolano. "With energy, we waited too long and are paying the price now; this Call to Action gives us a chance to address water before it's too late." The report states that participants reached "broad consensus…that our current path will, unless changed, lead us to a national freshwater crisis in the foreseeable future." It identifies serious challenges to the quality and supply of freshwater, including water infrastructure in need of upgrades and repairs; pollution and scarcity; competing urban, rural, and ecosystem water needs; climate change; environmental and public health impacts; and a variety of economic implications. It offers actions to confront these threats and a plan to ensure that our freshwater resources are secure for the 21st century. "For too long, our society has treated water as a cheap, non-strategic and infinitely available resource. Not anymore. Threats to water quality and access are putting our businesses, communities, and way of life in jeopardy. The time to act is now," said S. Curtis Johnson, chairman of Diversey Inc., a leading global provider of cleaning and hygiene solutions to the institutional marketplace and co-signer of the Call to Action. The Call to Action's recommendations include streamlining governance and modernizing America's freshwater regulatory framework, developed in the 1970s. The report also calls for badly needed upgrades to U.S. water and wastewater systems, which it suggests could be easier to finance with a better accounting of the full cost of services delivered by municipal water and wastewater utilities that is shared with consumers. For more information about Green For All, visit www.gfa.fchq.ca. For more information about the Call to Action, or to learn more about The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, please visit www.johnsonfdn.org.