Exercise your right to clean water in November

Local elections matter, especially when it comes to clean water


Where does pollution come from?

It’s a question we get a lot.

The word pollution probably conjures up images of smokestacks and drain pipes, green sludge and hazmat signs. And that is part of the story. Pollution comes from many different sources — city sewer systems, industrial pipes, even illegal leaks and spills.

But it’s not these sources of pollution that are most threatening to the Potomac River.

It's polluted runoff.

Polluted runoff from urban and suburban areas is the number one threat to our local streams and drinking water sources. And worse yet, it's the only growing source of pollution to the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. While pollution from more “traditional” places is on the decline, the amount of polluted runoff entering our river is growing every year.

The solution to polluted runoff is deceptively simple: naturally prevent it from entering our waters in the first place.

For example, we can reduce polluted runoff by advocating for policies that support smart planning, land conservation, and nature-based development practices.

Preserving healthy lands and optimizing our urban areas reduces hardened surfaces and improves the water quality in local streams and creeks that flow into the Potomac River. Proactively planning for the future of our cities ensures our communities are designed to support all of our needs, without compromising our quality of life or public health.

All of these policies are directly impacted by local officials and the decisions they make for your communities.

We know how to prevent polluted runoff from degrading our streams and rivers; we just need to take action.

So this is where YOU come in.

Planning and development decisions are largely made at the local level by city and county commissions and councils. The actions and policies of our local elected officials can either improve or degrade our waters. And it’s up to us to hold our elected officials accountable for protecting our drinking water.

You can have an impact on how your elected representatives shape clean water policies! 

Just this year, thanks to public support and the voices of hundreds of local citizens, a ban on Styrofoam was enacted in two Maryland counties and the District.

In 2013, thanks to Potomac Conservancy’s base of clean water advocates, the Montgomery County Council passed two historic tree bills to protect the county’s tree canopy and improve water quality.  And those are just two of many examples. 

This year, you can show up for clean water in November 2016 by voting for local candidates and policies that protect your streams and communities.

Be sure you are ready to vote on November 8, 2016 in support of clean water. 

Check with your jurisdictions’ elections website below for precise details on voter registration procedures; most jurisdictions require registration by October 18, 2016.

Join Team Potomac in holding elected officials accountable for clean water in the Potomac River. Stand up for clean water in your community by exercising your right to vote this fall. 

Register to vote!

Click on the state you reside in and learn how you can register to vote in this fall's local, state, and federal elections:


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