Missouri must be proactive to maintain clean water supply

Thursday, December 20, 2007 | 10:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:48 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

This year so far, 22 Missouri counties have been declared natural disaster areas due to drought conditions; if these sorts of conditions are more widespread over the state and river water is inordinately or unfairly cotained upstream in the Dakotas or Montana, the results to our state could be devastating. Ron Kucera, former deputy director of police for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, gives us a succinct warning: “The Missouri River is shrinking like all of the Western rivers... If Missourians don’t wake up and do something about the loss of the river’s flow, they will find out they will have lost a resource, and it will be an irretrievable loss.”

Many states are facing crisis conditions from water shortages and severe drought conditions, leading to legal battles over river flows and reservoirs. These battles are indicative of the sort of “water wars” we in Missouri will be facing in the years ahead with states upstream on our major rivers — particularly the Missouri River.

We need to take action now!

A lifeline Constitution for the State of Missouri will guarantee every citizen in the state equitable daily access to water, meeting the standards of both state and federal regulatory agencies.

By establishing local water governance councils, we become stewards of our local water systems. Local communities must establish co-governing structures with elected citizens and local government water authorities to jointly oversee wise water management.

We must fight the undue commercial trade that threatens our water. The state of Missouri must secure and regulate its water consumption and contamination. We must take a stand against the current lack of regulation in commercial water trade. We do not know what is going into the drinking water we are giving to our children in their lunch boxes or offering in the vending machines at their schools. We are the Show-Me-State — we have a right to accurate labeling for safe water. It is critical for us to come together and stand united as citizens to protect our water rights.

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