HOUSTON, TX - Would you drink water straight from Buffalo Bayou? The Art Guys did it once, thirteen years ago, for a good cause.
"The Art Guys", as everyone knows performing artists Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing, were invited by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership to an event to raise awareness about the state of our bayous, streams and rivers.
"We were commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act," said Massing, "and by doing so we swam from the north side of the bayou to the south side, taking a little bit of a rest in the middle to collect some water, and then drinking it upon getting up here on Allen's Landing."
As documented by the pictures they still treasure, The Art Guys crossed the Bayou wearing suits and ties, life vests, goggles and diving fins. So, now they came back to the same spot for a special occasion: a new federal clean water rule that will help better protect streams and wetlands took effect on Friday in most states.
"The water should be protected and it should be done by everyone," Massing expressed. "Common sense dictates, so you don't dump pollution into water systems."
The rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined. However, 13 states have challenged the rule in court, which is also opposed by oil, gas and coal companies, developers and agribusinesses.
"Farming and agriculture has for many years dumped large quantities of pesticides and different materials into the water system," he said.
A system that, in the end, affects the water we drink. This deserves a toast, then. With water perhaps?
"The bayou water tasted muddy", laughed Galbreth. "It's just like drinking muddy water: not particularly good, but not particularly bad."
No thanks. We'd rather have a dirty martini, please.