The Healthy Waters Coalition is a diverse group of municipal water, wastewater groups, conservation organizations, state agencies, and agriculture and forest operations led by NACWA. The Coalition is primarily focused on strengthening links between our working agricultural lands and the quality of our Nation’s waters.
According to State water quality reports, 80,000 miles of rivers and streams, 2.5 million acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds, 78% of the assessed continental U.S. coastal areas and more than 30% of estuaries are impaired due to excessive levels of nutrients. In all, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency attributes excess nutrients as the direct or indirect cause of impairments in over 50% of impaired river and stream miles; over 50% of impaired lake acres; and nearly 60% of impaired bay and estuarine square miles. In the majority of these waters, nutrient run-off from agricultural lands is the dominant source of the nutrient impairments.
The Healthy Waters Coalition came together in recognition of the fact that Congress had an opportunity in the 2014 Farm Bill reauthorization to make important strides toward reducing nutrient contamination in our waters. The Coalition has remained engaged with these issues since 2014 and is already looking ahead to the next Farm Bill (anticipated 2018) to build on the progress made toward facilitating stronger collaboration and water quality improvements.