Clean water rally to take place next week outside Legislative Hall

Hundreds will rally next week outside Legislative Hall to urge lawmakers to find a dedicated and sustainable funding stream for clean water in Delaware. 

The Clean Water: Delaware’s Clear Choice 4th Annual Rally will take place Tuesday, June 5 at 10:30 a.m. at Legislative Mall, on Legislative Avenue in Dover, a statewide education campaign and outreach effort to secure much needed additional, sustainable funding for clean water in Delaware.

Delaware has not been able to keep up with the maintenance required for  clean waterways and the proof is in the pudding, according to Brenna Goggin, director of advocacy for the Delaware Nature Society who said nearly all natural water sources in the state are considered polluted.

"90-percent of our waterways are considered polluted, they are not considered fish-able or swim-able. Now, that does not mean that you can't fish or swim in them, it means that it doesn't meet the standards that the federal government says that it should. That's an incredibly high rate for the second smallest state," Goggin said. We're seeing more and more issues related to infrastructure, and that comes from our inability to fund maintenance and upkeep of these structures."

Just like with a car, you have to keep up with the maintenance to ensure a water system is hazard free and clear of pollutants and that has not been the case at the federal, state and local levels across Delaware, according to the Delaware Nature Society. 

"If you think about your car, if you don't maintain and keep up with your car then you're going to have a significant and probably very expensive problem to deal with," Goggin said. "It's less expensive if you keep up with it, and unfortunately our local governments, our state and federal governments haven't been able to keep up with the demand. Nor, does that even take into account several legacy issues that we face that still need to be addressed and are still coming to the forefront that are not anticipated."

Historically, Delaware has been a rich industrial sector and, while many of those industries may not be around today, the effects they left behind are evident in the state's water system. 

The rally is part of an ongoing effort for additional funding to go towards improvements to the state's wastewater systems, flood reduction initiatives, innovative toxic removal technologies, and protection of drinking water. 

"After four years of really hard work, we were able to secure $6 million in Governor Carney's fiscal year 2019 recommended budget, but it still falls short of the $100 million that we have discovered we need annually to address our water quality issues in a holistic way," Goggin explained . "So, While we applaud the $6 million and we want to celebrate that success, we also want to make sure that the General Assembly and the Governor's Office are working towards a more sustainable solution."

The campaign is championed by the Clean Water Alliance, a group of diverse stakeholders including nonprofit organizations, academia ,and businesses; and our Water Warriors, who are citizen advocates that care about water quality for current and future generations.  

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