By Meghan Boian – American Rivers

We all live downstream from something, as the old saying goes, so when it comes to ensuring our water is clean and safe, we have to look upstream – all the way to the source.

Yet what we’ve seen in recent years when we look to our source waters hasn’t been pretty. Evidence suggests the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is part of a wider problem. And two years ago Toledo’s water supply was contaminated by toxic algae – algae that bloomed due to the polluted runoff going into our rivers.

We can’t afford to let things continue the way they have. Across the country, too many Americans cannot trust that their water is safe. Nobody should have to worry about pollution when they turn on the tap.

Fortunately, we’ve made some progress. By closing loopholes in the Clean Water Act last year, we put safeguards on unprotected drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans. The Clean Water Rule helps protect our drinking water by making sure the Clean Water Act can be applied to small streams and wetlands that feed into drinking water supplies. Polluters will no longer be able to dump toxic waste into small streams, and developers will have to stop bulldozing the wetlands that naturally filter the water we drink.

Unfortunately, special interests are trying to block theses much-needed protections. The hysterical, arguably disingenuous criticisms of the Clean Water Rule — coming almost exclusively from corporate agribusiness and developers — inaccurately portray the protections as some sort of government land grab. The reality is that the long-standing rule reestablishes safeguards that had been in place for years, even decades.

The Clean Water Rule helps to ensure that our drinking water supplies are not downstream from pollution. Protecting our clean water is an investment that will benefit the health of our families today, and will pay off for generations to come.

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