Three easy ways you can have a positive impact on water

Water may not be top of your mind when it comes to smart growth, but every new building, every additional use of energy, every added parking lot, contributes to our water crisis. Pollution is washed off surfaces and into streams, trees that clean and absorb excess water are cut down to build apartments, and stormwater runoff scours out creek banks until they collapse. It’s these issues and more that brought people together for our June Grow Smart CLT event, where our panel of experts discussed water, both quality and quantity.

Laughter in the green

As part of our annual summer fund drive, we held a members-only pre-party before the event, with delicious food from Vida Vida. We were blown away by the support shown by our current members, and were excited to welcome 15 new Sustain Charlotte members! If you’ve been thinking about joining as a member, now is the perfect time. Anyone who becomes a member by June 20th gets entered to win a new commuter bike valued at $400! (Become a member here!)

How you can help improve our water

Emilee Syrewicze, Executive Director of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation; Rusty Rozzelle, Water Quality Program Manager for Mecklenburg County; and Tom Low, Founder of Civic By Design all shared what they see as the challenges growth poses for water, and some potential solutions. At the end of the panel, they each left the audience with one way to make a difference for water quality.

Emilee shared the importance of recognizing how much water is impacting by power generation, and emphasized that reducing energy use will make a much larger impact than simply reducing your own personal water use. Rusty reminded attendees that there are thousands of miles of streams in Mecklenburg County, but his department only gets a few hundred reports of pollution each year. He encouraged attendees to call 311 and report any water quality issues they see, so his team can respond and get our waterways cleaned up. Tom shared an experience he had while working on low impact development and design, in which he was reminded that nothing humans can design is as effective at managing stormwater as a tree. He said that if people want to positively impact water, all they have to do is plant trees!

Sustain Charlotte's Grow Smart CLT: Water event at Catawba Brewing.

Sustain Charlotte’s Grow Smart CLT: Water event at Catawba Brewing.

Sustain Charlotte’s impact

Since we’re now halfway through 2018, we were excited to share all the exciting things we’ve already been able to accomplish this year to advance smart growth and sustainability. Check our our 2018 accomplishments to date here!

Sustain Charlotte isn’t going to stop working, whether it’s for water quality, safe sidewalks and bike lanes, funding for public transit, or another smart growth initiative. If you want to help, take your support to the next level, and become a Sustain Charlotte member today! Your gift allows us to continue working for a healthy, sustainable, and equitable community for future generations.

Missed the event? Check out the video and photos (Grant Baldwin Photography)! And mark your calendar for the next Grow Smart CLT, on July 11th at Three Spirits Brewery!