Nelson Brooke has served as Black Warrior Riverkeeper since 2004. The nonprofit Black Warrior Riverkeeper organization provides leadership in protecting the Black Warrior River, one of the primary sources of drinking water to the City of Birmingham and several other surrounding municipalities and public water systems.
Nelson explains why water is so important and how the modern "disconnect" from water contributes to the lack of public awareness about the importance of protecting water.
We take a look at some of the challenges of protecting water in Alabama. We also discuss briefly some of the hidden costs that we incur personally and as a society as a result of failure to enforce existing water quality regulations and the failure to update water protection regulations. For instance, many pharmaceuticals and emerging chemical hazards aren't yet covered by the regulatory system or treatment protocols. We are exposed to these chemicals that persist in drinking water and this exposure contributes to the increased rates of cancer and other health problems. We collectively incur the medical costs of treatment of these health conditions and it might be less expensive to remove the chemicals from the water supply, or find ways to limit the discharge of these products into rivers, streams and reservoirs.
We also touch on the role that our natural environment plays in outdoor recreation and the economic opportunities this offers.
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