April 28 – May 5 is National Soil and Water Stewardship Week, and the Indiana Conservation Partnership has come together to help Hoosiers understand watersheds. The theme of Stewardship Week is Where Does Your Water Shed?, a play on words to help people understand the concept of watersheds. Mark McCauley with Hamilton County SWCD says most Hoosiers are not familiar with the concept of a watershed, “Most people don’t know what one is or that they live in one.” Jennifer Boyle with the IASWCD says people need to know how they use water impacts the rest of the state, “It is important that people understand that when the water leaves their land, where does it go?”
This is the 58th year that Stewardship Week has been celebrated, “We must call attention to the fact that clean water is important to everyone,” said Roger Kult, Acting State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Kult went on to say, “Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. They cross county, state and national boundaries. Every inch of the land in Indiana is part of a watershed. No matter where you are right now, you are in a watershed.”
Boyle said recent weather extremes have put water, watersheds, and water quality in the news and that has got people thinking a bit more about water, “The weather extremes, both drought and floods, have heightened awareness by the public of the importance of water conservation.” She added that Indiana is blessed with good water resources and plenty of rain, but last year’s drought taught many people just how important water conservation is, “Less than one percent of all of the water on our planet is fresh water. The average citizen in the United States uses 125 gallons of water every day; and this does not include the water it takes to manufacture the automobiles, clothing, and food we depend on each and every day. We want each person to know they can make a difference!” The just concluded state legislative session established a study committee on Indiana water policy and resources.
Boyle told HAT that Stewardship Week is an opportunity to educate people, “We have a variety of educational materials to help teach peple about conservation and stewardship.” Some of those materials can be found here.
The Indiana Conservation Partnership is made up of 8 agencies and organizations. The group assembled at the Pathway to Water Quality on the state fairgrounds on Tuesday, where for the past 20 years they have educated fairgoers about the personal actions each of us can take daily to improve water quality here in Indiana.