Alabama is a water-rich state with more than 77,000 miles of streams, 3.6 million acres of wetlands, and 560,000 acres of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. Alabama water resources include springs, swamps, streams, reservoirs, small impoundments, natural ponds, estuaries and the Gulf of Mexico. The state is ranked second in navigable waterways and sixth in hydropower generation. Over half of the state (43,701 square miles) drains to Mobile Bay where it discharges 62,000 cubic feet of water per second to the Gulf of Mexico. Alabama streams also have some of the highest aquatic biodiversity in the world, including nearly 350 species of freshwater mollusks (snails and mussels).
Alabamians use these rich water resources for drinking and other household uses, hydroelectric power, irrigation, agriculture, industry and recreation, however, many water resources have been polluted and degraded. Although the Clean Water Act has accomplished much in reducing pollution from point sources such as discharge pipes, much work remains to be done in the area of nonpoint source pollution...that which enters our waters from broad areas of both urban and rural land. Balancing the needs of expanding human population with the need for conserving water quality, water quantity and aquatic fauna requires a fundamental understanding of these resources. It is a challenge for government and the citizens of Alabama to protect and restore our aquatic heritage.
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