AUBURNDALE, Mass. -- In the movie "The Postman," which is set in the next millennium, Kevin Costner scolds his mule for drinking water before he has tested its toxicity level. While the scene draws laughs from the audience, such a scenario might well have been a stark reality in Massachusetts during this millennium if a serious cleanup effort of the Charles River and Boston Harbor had not been made.
In fact, it wasn't long ago that sections of the Charles River carried a high amount of toxic waste. However, a combination of state and federal legislation, research, advocacy, and intensified action have helped to remediate the water resources of the Charles River for the 35 towns and cities within its watershed. Today, 80 percent of the river is safe for swimming during dry weather, as evidenced by former Governor William Weld when he dove into the river fully clothed to celebrate the signing of a statewide river protection law four years ago. And at its Echo Lake headwaters in Hopkinton, the water is drinkable.
The Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), a key player in the dramatic turnaround, conducts cutting-edge research about the watershed and acts as guardian protector of the river and its tributaries. The group regularly monitors water quality along the entire length of the river and publishes its reports on the Internet at www.crwa.org. These reports help to underscore how critical CRWA efforts are to ensuring healthy water quality and a sustainable water supply. For example:
"CRWA's value to our community is as precious as the water they seek to protect," says Andrew Wilson, president of Boston Duck Tours, which sponsors The Run of the Charles with support from Boston Edison. "lt's our hope that this race can help raise public awareness of the need for CRWA's ongoing efforts, as well as raise funds to ensure they have the means to do so"
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