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State Water Boards: Performance Report
The California Water Boards' Annual Performance Report - Fiscal Year 2009-10
People depend on water for life... to drink, eat, bathe, work, and play, and to support the natural environment in which we live. We expect that the quality of our water is suitable for the various uses we make of it. Yet, we impact water quality in many ways as individuals and as a society, primarily by adding pollutants.
- In using water to our benefit, we add pollutants that can degrade the water if they are not prevented from entering the water or removed through treatment.
- The water we use in our homes for drinking, cooking, bathing, watering our gardens, and washing our cars enters the sewer system for eventual treatment and discharge to a river or the ocean, and runs down the storm drains, reaching our creeks and rivers.
- The produce we eat comes from croplands that are irrigated, fertilized, and treated for pests – agricultural practices that can pollute water.
- The consumer goods that we enjoy, including the processed foods we eat, are produced by industries that use and pollute water during the manufacturing process.
- The vehicles that we drive rely on fuels that require water to produce and deposit oil, grease, and toxic metals on our roads which are later washed away with rainwater.
- The way we use our land, from the construction of buildings and parking lots to golf courses and agricultural areas, affects the way water moves and introduces pollutants both to our surface and groundwaters.
To support the State’s population of over 36.7 million people, California’s waters include:
- 211,000 miles of rivers and streams
- More than 1.6 million acres of lakes
- More than 1.3 million acres of bays and estuaries
- First 3 miles of ocean off our 1,100-mile coastline
- All groundwater
It is the primary responsibility of the State and Regional Water Boards, as the State’s water pollution control regulatory agencies, to impose requirements and controls on the amount of pollutants that can enter our waters. Protection of our waters and watersheds is essential to ensure public health, recreation, fish and wildlife, and a healthy economy.