Change Begins Onshore

Know Your H2O

Know Your H2O (KYH2O) is a Surfrider Foundation program designed to educate people on the link between freshwater management issues and the impact on our oceans, waves, and beaches. We advocate for practical and environmentally sound solutions.

Do you know where your water comes from? In many places, water travels hundreds of miles through canals and pipelines before reaching your home. Due to persistent drought, growing population and legislation, less water will be delivered from these sources in the future.

Many rivers near the coast have been paved over, and nearly all storm drain pipes empty into our oceans. This dumps animal waste, pesticides, fertilizers, oil and pollution from our cars and roads, plastics and anything else in our watershed into the ocean.

Through conservation, using climate-appropriate plants, implementing Low Impact Development, capturing and reusing "waste" water, and Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR), we can reduce water pollution in the ocean AND improve our drinking water supply.

Goals:
• It’s all about pollution prevention. KYH2O is a proactive campaign designed to prevent pollution from reaching the surf.
• Raise awareness about the connection between the different aspects of water management, and how the effective and integrated management of those aspects can protect our oceans, waves and beaches.
• Provide Surfrider supporters tangible ways to advocate for Integrated Water Management.

How:
1. Identify and define the problem
2. Share a common vision
3. Advocate for actionable solutions

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The Cycle of Insanity - The Real Story of Water

Order the Cycle of Insanity DVD     Download the Cycle of Insanity script here

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a Chapter engage in KYH20?

Watch the short film Cycle of Insanity, and become familiar with the resources available on Beachapedia and the Coastal Blog.

With the your Chapter’s current water pollution campaigns or concerns in mind, examine the Integrated Water Management resources below and on Beachapedia, then determine how they might help make your current campaigns more successful or inspire you to start new campaigns.

(Optional) Form a KYH2O committee to engage on these issues. For helpful tips click here.

Select activities from this Know Your H2O menu: 

Resources/Definitions

Case Studies

Government Declares Drought In Western States - Again & Again!  Our Approach For Dry & Wet Years

September 17 2014

Government Declares Drought In Western States - Again & Again!  Our Approach For Dry & Wet Years

Blue Water Task Force Know Your H20 Low Impact Development Water Recycling Ocean Friendly Gardens

Surfrider's Clean Water Initiative is a solution for wet and dry years - and for drier and wetter climates. It connects together our work to reduce water use, utilize rainwater as a resource, and recycle "wastewater."

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Summer crowds get a primer on the proposed ocean outfall for Rehoboth Beach, DE

July 09 2014

Summer crowds get a primer on the proposed ocean outfall for Rehoboth Beach, DE

Know Your H20 Wastewater Water Recycling Water Quality

The Delaware Chapter was able to reach peak summer crowds this past holiday weekend. The News Journal ran a front page story on the proposed Rehoboth Beach ocean outfall. The Chapter is opposing the outfall and instead advocating for water recycling options over dumping the treated freshwater out to sea.

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1st of 7 Films Released to Slow & Prevent Runoff

June 10 2014

1st of 7 Films Released to Slow & Prevent Runoff

Know Your H20 Low Impact Development Ocean Friendly Gardens Basic Class Water Quality

A California state agency is launching 7 short films on how to prevent runoff from landscapes and hard surfaces. The objective is essentially Ocean Friendly Gardens!

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Hydromodification - What is It?

June 02 2014

Hydromodification - What is It?

Know Your H20 Low Impact Development Water Quality

Hydromodification is the alteration of the natural flow of water through a landscape, and often takes the form of channel modification or channelization. It is one of the leading sources of impairment in streams, lakes, estuaries, aquifers, and other water bodies in the United States.

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Aveda Cleans Up People & Beaches, Raising Money For Surfrider

April 08 2014

Aveda Cleans Up People & Beaches, Raising Money For Surfrider

Know Your H20 Ocean Friendly Gardens Rise Above Plastics

Aveda salons and Experience Centers throughout So Cal are, again, raising money for Surfrider's Clean Water Program. They've raised $750,000 over the past 7 years!

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Building a model urban watershed & water management system in Ventura, California

March 21 2014

Building a model urban watershed & water management system in Ventura, California

Blue Water Task Force Know Your H20 Low Impact Development Water Recycling Ocean Friendly Gardens Water Quality

For the past two decades, the Ventura Chapter has been identifying problems and promoting solutions for clean water throughout the Ventura River watershed. Their proactive urban watershed program is helping to protect water supply and quality, coastal habitats and recreational opportunities by restoring ecosystem function throughout the watershed.

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Stop the Rehoboth Beach Outfall Pipe

March 21 2014

Stop the Rehoboth Beach Outfall Pipe

Know Your H20 Wastewater Water Recycling Water Quality

The Delaware Chapter held a press conference on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk on March 20th, the first day of Spring, to protest a new ocean outfall pipe that the City is proposing to build. The Chapter wants the effluent to be cleaned up better and recycled for Land Based Applications.

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Water Recycling Provides Multiple Benefits

March 20 2014

Water Recycling Provides Multiple Benefits

Know Your H20 Wastewater Water Recycling

The drought throughout California, much of the Southwest and elsewhere in the United States has garnered a lot headlines and generated much concern. At the same time, there is a growing realization that we can address water supply problems AND reduce water pollution problems AND save money if we just begin to close the loop and create an urban water cycle instead of perpetuating the cycle of insanity.

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Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Put on Hold

November 15 2013

Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Put on Hold

Know Your H20 Desalination

After nearly ten years of the Surfrider Foundation and local residents raising concerns about plans to build a seawater desalination facility in Huntington Beach, the Coastal Commission finally reviewed the project and sent it back for improvements.

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Investing in Natural Infrastructure

October 25 2013

Investing in Natural Infrastructure

Know Your H20 Low Impact Development

Using nature to help manage water, a new report by the Water Resources Institute details the multiple benefits.

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Just a few reasons why desal is not the answer…

September 20 2013

Just a few reasons why desal is not the answer…

Know Your H20 Desalination

Desalination is often touted as the solution to our water woes. However, Surfrider begs to differ and suggests that desalination done in an environmentally responsible fashion should only be considered after water conservation and recycling have been exhausted. Check out this short clip from David Zetland of Wageningen University, as he expresses his concerns.

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OFG Launches on Hawaiian Islands

September 06 2013

OFG Launches on Hawaiian Islands

Know Your H20 Low Impact Development Wastewater Ocean Friendly Gardens HOW

Five Surfrider chapters from four Hawaiian islands gathered for their annual conference, and learned about Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Gardens Program. A pre-conference meeting with a sister non-profit, and a tour by them after the conference, showed partnership potential on one island. Now, several island chapters are kicking off an OFG program.

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Know Your H20 concepts gaining traction in Los Angeles

August 02 2013

Know Your H20 concepts gaining traction in Los Angeles

Know Your H20 Low Impact Development Water Recycling

Know Your H2O concepts are gaining traction in Los Angeles as people realize that all water, whether in the form of stormwater or wastewater, is WATER and must be managed efficiently. Check out this 5-minute film from the National Science Foundation and NBC Learn.

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Moving beyond the dam era

July 05 2013

Moving beyond the dam era

Know Your H20

From the earliest development of the western United States, the federal government, was in the business of diverting natural river flows and building dams. The arguably well-intentioned program of building dams has had significant adverse impacts on our coast and ocean. But there has been a mind-shift recently towards dam removal.

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It’s all connected…

June 21 2013

It’s all connected…

Know Your H20

We all learned the rule of "cause and affect" in school; as we look around today there are lots of examples of environmental catastrophes due to the mismanagement of our natural resources. A traditional Florida fishery on the verge of collapse is yet another example of why we need to pursue integrated water management.

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Progressive Stormwater Permit Approved In San Diego

May 17 2013

Progressive Stormwater Permit Approved In San Diego

Know Your H20 Low Impact Development

On May 8th, 2013 the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) unanimously approved a new regional MS4 permit implementing a watershed-based approach to stormwater management with an increased reliance on Low Impact Development (LID).

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The Potential of Stormwater

April 26 2013

The Potential of Stormwater

Know Your H20 Low Impact Development Water Recycling

It’s a basic idea: When it rains, we need to be able to capture that water, store it and then use it later. Today, about half the water from rain that could be used to replenish groundwater basins and increase local water supplies ends up turning into polluted stormwater runoff.

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Major green infrastructure project is completed in New York

April 12 2013

Major green infrastructure project is completed in New York

Know Your H20 Low Impact Development

In an area where combined sewer system overflows are a leading contributor to water quality problems, the City of New York has turned to green infrastructure as a cost-effective solution to multiple problems.

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California’s Landmark Law Under Attack

April 08 2013

California’s Landmark Law Under Attack

Beach Access Blue Water Task Force Coastal Preservation Know Your H20 Ocean Ecosystems Water Quality

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is one of California’s most important laws—not only because it helps protect our environment and “quality of life”, but CEQA also promotes democratic participation in the decision-making process—giving citizens a say in what happens in their local communities. Unfortunately over the past few years, developers and polluting industries have been attempting to weaken CEQA through legislation. If special interests succeed in weakening CEQA, California’s natural resources could suffer from unchecked development, and the public will lose its ability to require developers to address environmental impacts.

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Sewage Treatment: Moving Off the Coast?

March 29 2013

Sewage Treatment: Moving Off the Coast?

Know Your H20 Wastewater Water Recycling

A combination of required replacement of outdated sewage treatment facilities, climate change adaptation (sea level rise), and integrated water management strategies may be evolving towards movement of sewage treatment facilities away from the coast, as well as water re-use and improved water quality discharge.

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Mara Dias mdias@surfrider.org
Rick Wilson rwilson@surfrider.org