Tune in to the Delaware River basin

The Delaware River basin probably serves more masters than any such system in the country, from shipping to recreation to wildlife and more. One biggie among them: The Delaware River provides drinking water for 15 million people.

So how's it going? What are the challenges to KEEPING our drinking water clean and clear? How many straws are in that water?

The Source Water Collaborative is sponsoring a Delaware River Basin Forum Thursday that is aimed at identifying and addressing the issues.

The central session is in Philadelphia at the WHYY Public Media Commons on Sixth Street. But, of course, the basin is big, and there's no need to travel this far. Satellite sessions will be held at the University of Delaware in Newark, Reading Area Community College in Reading, the Rutgers Eco Complex in Bordentown, the Monroe County Public Center in Stroudsburg, and Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y.

If all else fails, you can view a live webcast online.

While the challenges are surely sprawl, population growth, pollution and the like, one of the issues getting lots of attention now is natural gas drilling. The forum organizers have taken pains to note that the event is not "affiliated" with the national gas drilling regulations proposed by the Delaware River Basin Commission. But since commission executive director Carol Collier is speaking, the topic will likely surface.

Get up early and get your coffee. Opening remarks begin at 8:15 with William J. Weber, veep and chief technology officer of WHYY Inc., then Shawn M. Garvin, regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson (pre-recorded).