Each of us is connected to rivers in our everyday lives. Most of the six million people living in the Potomac River watershed do not realize that their drinking water comes from the Potomac. Since the Clean Water Act passed in 1972, the health of the river has improved. However, it is still in trouble and faces a number of serious threats: urban development, population growth and runoff from farms, pharmaceuticals and chemicals. The film follows the flow of the Potomac water from its origin, into our homes and businesses and back into the river. We become aware of the need to protect this essential resource and of how our wellbeing and that of future generations is intertwined with the health of the Potomac. Narrated by Chris Palmer, Director, Center for Environmental Filmmaking, American University.

Co Directed, Produced and Written by Peggy Fleming and Sean Furmage

Working as a dive master in the oceans for over a decade, it is easy to see how people view water as an unlimited resource due to the sheer size of our oceans and how much of our planet’s surface is covered by water.

Even those of us who are aware that our drinking water is a limited resource have much to learn watching The River Runs Through Us. For example the newer and stronger medicines and chemicals we develop reach our water supply, from any household, by our own hands. We see the visible impact this has, seen clearly by the effect on the native fish population. We also see that we are only recently able to detect minute traces of troubling substances in our water, which leads us to ask, what is there as yet undetected? How could this affect us in the near and distant future?

We are shown that we only need to make simple changes to make a difference and help protect this valuable resource. For instance, I drink tap water wherever possible to limit the need for plastic bottles. I am restrained in my use of chemicals for cleaning, using vinegar when possible and growing an organic vegetable garden. I was reminded to use more dye and scent free products in the future. There are many other tiny adjustments we can make to limit the use of antimicrobial products which are so popular today and watching what we eat. All these choices added together, can make a big impact.

This is only a glimpse of the things to discover in this wonderful film. The river, literally, runs through us.

Liang Chen, Cozumel, Mexico

I was out on the street in front of my  house during a rain and noticed that the principal paths of storm water, long before they reach the drains, are between the curb and street edge.  I was thinking that this would be a natural place to filer this very concentrated storm runoff with a sort of continuous French drain of potentially immense dimensions.  I’m not sure if this idea  is practical or even if it would work.  I’m sure your film POTOMAC, the environmental film festival itself, and our general consciousness of the perils facing our planet all played a role in my having this idea!  Dickson Carroll, Washington, DC

This documentary does a great job in presenting a complex problem in terms of every day life. It tells each of us what we can do to change our habits from being part of the problem to being a part of the solution. It is a wake-up call for all of us who live in this great river basin.

Norvill Jones, Alexandria, VA