Kayakers, canoers raise their paddles for clean water at Susquehanna River Rally

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A river rally in Harrisburg  asking state lawmakers to request clean water funds in the upcoming Pennsylvania budget.

Supporters say they paddled for protection to keep Pennsylvania waterways clean and a viable economic source for the Commonwealth -- timely, as state lawmakers prepare to negotiate a budget

A morning on the Susquehanna River meant more to these water enthusiasts than just another day spent kayaking and canoeing.

"We came together as a Susquehanna River Rally. We're waving our paddles and our signs in the air in solidarity to show that it's unacceptable that Pennsylvania ranks 3rd for safe drinking water violations," said Amanda John, an organizer.

It was a mass call for clean water funding, the state capitol building an appropriate backdrop to the rally as budget negotiations loom closer.

"Were very concerned about the proposed cuts to the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) when our waterways need them more than ever," added John.

9 different Pennsylvania environmental organizations raised their paddles and their signs in the Susquehanna, a river 6 million Americans rely on for clean drinking water, according to the National Parks Conservation Association.

"I'm doing it because every person deserves to have clean water, whether it's drinking water or it's clean rivers," said David Platt.

Those groups say the river is threatened by eroding soils and waste, which they believe could threaten the tourism without appropriate funding, in turn, hurting the local economies - more so, risking a vital Pennsylvania water source.

"We deserve clean drinking water. Clean water is a human right, basic fundamental principles you wouldn't think we'd have to fight for," said John.

The Pennsylvania state budget is due at midnight on June 30th. Right now, it calls for cuts to the DEP and DCNR.