Our freshwater and groundwater resources are increasingly threatened by storm surges, sea-level rise, and drought. Limiting the contamination of water by residents, and most importantly ensuring a reduction of pollution by commercial or industrial entities, would help limit the impact of climate change on the state’s freshwater and drinking water supply.
Like other environmental justice concerns, water-related issues disproportionately burden low-income communities, rural and communities of color. The cost to access water should not compromise one’s ability to pay for other essential items, such as energy, food, housing, and healthcare.
American cities across the country, including cities in the southeast like Charlotte, North Carolina have households 50% below the poverty line that are facing unaffordable water burdens. This unaffordability is projected to double within the population by 2030. No one should be deprived of water because of an inability to pay. Virginia has a responsibility to protect its water resources and ensure equitable access and affordable water for residents to grow food, cook, bathe and drink.
Water and Faith
As people of good conscience, we care for Creation and love our neighbors, and protecting our water as well as being responsible stewards of our water resources is a part of that. Across faith traditions, water is seen as a sacred and irreplaceable resource that is used for various ceremonies, rituals, and practices. Many faiths including Islam, Catholicism, and Indigenous traditions share basic principles that present water as a spiritual gift that must be valued and protected as a part of practicing good stewardship.
Faith communities can contribute to the work for clean water and sanitation for all. Together we can build a strong coalition for concrete action together protecting our sacred water resources.