Largest Water Education Campaign kicks off in Kentucky
One of the largest water education projects in the southeastern United States, the Commonwealth Water Education Project (CWEP), kicked off its five-year long campaign from Tuesday, April 4 -7, 2006, during National Earth Month. The events were held at the Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation at the Waterfront Park in Louisville; Sanitation District No. 1 of Northern Kentucky in Fort Wright; Lost River Cave in Bowling Green; at McConnell Springs in Lexington, respectively. The $1.4 million project is a collaborative effort of twenty-four partners aimed at raising awareness of the number one source of water pollution--nonpoint source or runoff pollution. Targeting citizens of the Commonwealth, CWEP will educate Kentuckians about the sources of and solutions to nonpoint source pollution and encourage citizens to improve the quality of Kentucky's streams and rivers by changing small behaviors that collectively have large impacts on water quality.
Executive Director Jane Eller, Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC); Andrea Zimmer, Office of Water Management, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4; Associate University Provost David Howarth, University of Louisville; and others unveiled the features of the campaign. The event introduced TV and radio spots; the CWEP Web site www.inyourwater.org, produced by Western Kentucky University; demonstrations of causes and solutions; a water documentary "Common Ground, Cleaner Water" and a virtual watershed tour, both produced by KET; and other elements of the campaign.
According to a 2004 survey of environmental knowledge and attitudes in Kentucky (http://keec.ky.gov), while the majority of Kentuckians believe water quality is the most important environmental problem facing the Commonwealth, only 17% could correctly identify runoff pollution as our leading cause of water pollution. With over 89,000 miles of rivers and streams, Kentucky has an abundance of water resources. However, approximately one-half of the water bodies are threatened or impaired by contamination. According to KEEC’s Executive Director Jane Eller, “Many of the state’s waterways are so polluted that it is not safe to swim in or eat fish taken from them. Of these, two-thirds are polluted by nonpoint sources caused by the many small unintended acts of all of us. By simply learning what actions each of us can do to prevent runoff and then taking those actions, we can significantly reduce water pollution in Kentucky. This project is designed to make all our citizens aware of the simple, individual actions they each can take to protect one of the Commonwealth's most important and most beautiful resources, our water.”
For questions regarding the project, visit the CWEP Web site www.inyourwater.org, or contact Kristen Dunaway, project coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, (502) 777-5429.
This project is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under the Clean Water Act, through the Kentucky Division of Water, to The University of Louisville.