The annual “Clean Water Starts With Me” outreach campaign, coordinated by Pima Association of Governments with its Stormwater Management Working Group, gets under way in July and raises awareness about how to preserve the quality of water in our region.
After a monsoon rain, the rainwater runs across the land and picks up any pollutants left on yards, sidewalks and driveways. After running off of properties, stormwater is transported along streets where more urban pollutants can be picked up. Depositing into storm drains, the water flows directly to desert washes, without purification.
“Clean Water Starts With Me” engages the community to prevent pollutants from accumulating in fragile desert wash environments or being deposited in stormwater retention basins where children might play. Since 2003, the Stormwater Management Working Group, composed of all the local jurisdictions, Pima County and other partners, has worked together to share a cohesive message about how to prevent stormwater pollution throughout the Tucson region during the monsoon season.
“Clean Water Starts With Me” encourages you to:
♦ Pick Up Where Your Dog Left Off
♦ Use Yard Chemicals Sparingly
♦ Fix Leaky Vehicles
♦ Never Dump Waste in Stormdrains or Washes
♦ Use Commercial Car Washes
♦ Harvest Rainwater
Recent emphasis on rainwater harvesting has captivated the community. Hundreds of sites displaying rainwater harvesting are found throughout the region, and installations are increasing rapidly. PAG’s campaign builds on this momentum because rainwater harvesting on your landscape not only conserves potable water, it also improves stormwater quality. Sunken rain gardens keep yard chemicals on site and treat runoff in the soils biologically. Also called Green Infrastructure, this practice helps our environment, economy and human health. By harvesting rainwater, we can store water in the soil for vegetation, create habitat, cool and shade urban neighborhoods, reduce energy demands, increase land values, improve air quality through the trees nourished in the rain gardens, reduce flood flows, and keep downstream desert washes clean.
Outreach and public awareness are critical for building community involvement, values and understanding. “Clean Water Starts With Me” connects the dots between our urban life and impacts on the natural environment. The Tucson region has long been known for its desert conservation ethic that serves as an example to other arid regions and, moreover, the region has recently received attention as a model for Green Infrastructure (GI) in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publications.
In another example of green achievements, the “Clean Water Starts With Me” campaign is now included in the EPA’s Pollution Outreach Toolbox. Our materials now help other communities develop effective and targeted outreach campaigns. Our slogan is used by several localities statewide. Similarly, other communities in Arizona have begun to model their construction industry outreach programs on our Working Group’s efforts.
Remember that anything left on the land can end up in the water when the rains come. Share your awareness with others! Be on the lookout for our outreach message in our upcoming multi-media campaign:
♦ Movie Theaters
♦ At PAG.storm.com and on Facebook
Pima Association of Governments is an association of local, state and tribal governments with a mission to build consensus among its members and the public on regional planning for transportation, air quality and water quality.