About Protect Our Aquifer

Protect Our Aquifer is a 501(c)3 community organization founded in December 2016 to protect the drinking water source for Memphis, TN. The Memphis Sand Aquifer is a unique geologic jewel and supplies all of west Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and parts of eastern Arkansas with the best drinking water in the country. Memphis is the largest country in the U.S. that solely relies on groundwater to meet residential, industrial, and agricultural water demands.

POA was started by a passionate group of Memphians for one purpose: to halt new deep wells that would cool the Tennessee Valley Authority’s new gas-fired Allen Combined Cycle power plant in Memphis. Situated across the street from toxic, leaking coal ash ponds, the threat of drawing down arsenic into the drinking water supply did not pass the common sense test. With public pressure and a growing awareness that our aquifer is vulnerable, the state ordered the TVA wells to be amended for emergency use only. With our first win, we recognized an array of contamination dangers and no long-term, proactive approach to intervene.

POA has since launched a holistic mission and a forward-facing vision, long held by indigenous peoples. POA is a science-led advocacy organization that prioritizes inclusion of diverse local communities, scientific integrity in aquifer protection, fierce advocacy in public decision-making, and celebration of the aquifer’s model stewards and good neighbors.

We believe everyone plays a role in protecting the aquifer - and it starts with knowledge. Through our experience local, democratic and community-based organizing can defeat corporate power and municipal indifference to make decisions for our drinking water supply that is in the best interest of our collective future. POA aims to return the water to the people and we invite you to find your role in the work to #ProtectOurAquifer!

The POA Mission

To protect, conserve, and preserve the Memphis Sand Aquifer.

The POA Vision

We envision the sustainable management of groundwater resources that will support the next seven generations living and working within the Mississippi Embayment.

Our Guiding Principles

Principle 1:

The Memphis Sand Aquifer is a complex and interdependent resource. All water must be managed carefully to maximize economic, environmental, and social health benefits.

Principle 2:

Long-term water sustainability can be achieved by balancing water withdrawals with natural and engineered inputs back into the Aquifer system.

Principle 3:

A thriving economy includes protecting the high quality and quantity of our drinking water supplies.

Principle 4:

Legacy pollution from past and current producers must be remediated.

Principle 5:

Environmental laws and regulations must be implemented and enforced equitably regardless of location, race, income levels or other sociological factors.

See previous Annual Reports

Meet our Staff
& Board.

See the POA team

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