Clean Water Defense

Our Clean Water Defense Campaign is leading the global fight for strong regulations and vigilant enforcement of environmental laws.

Our Clean Water Defense campaign is designed to defend and support a robust set of laws, standards and permits, ensure that these legal protections are enforced, and to guard against major threats to providing clean and safe water for everyone.

Governments around the world have enacted laws to protect water quality and the communities that depend on clean water. In the United States, there are local, state and national laws designed to control pollution sources and restore our streams, rivers, lakes, and estuaries to swimmable, fishable and drinkable conditions.

Waterkeeper Alliance focuses on four overarching problems facing communities:

(1) protecting and restoring the ecosystem;
(2) improving public access to waterways;
(3) supporting clean and free flowing rivers and waterways; and,
(4) defending and promoting environmental legal protections

Waterkeeper Alliance believes that strong alliances with key partners and strategic uses of broad-based coalitions greatly expand our capacity to achieve our goals. Waterkeepers combine a unique set of strengths that make such alliances attractive to other groups: a professional reputation, a grassroots base of public support, a powerhouse of attorneys, and partnerships with key organizations and experts in law, engineering, biology, hydrology, policy, and economics.

Watershed Protection: Waterkeepers serve as tireless advocates for the health of their watersheds and communities. On behalf of a grassroots constituency, we employ a variety of tools and strategies to identify problems, respond to citizen complaints, devise appropriate solutions and enforce environmental laws. Waterkeepers are the public’s investigator, scientist, lawyer, lobbyist, and public relations agent for that waterbody, patrolling more than 2 million square miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa.

Public Access: A clean waterway is essential to the environmental health of the region. But its value is greatly enhanced if we have access to it. Public access to waterways across the globe has been severely restricted. Waterkeeper Alliance has made it one of its priority goals to increase responsible public access.

Free Flowing Rivers: Waterkeeper Alliance supports clean and free flowing rivers and waterways, including opposing new dams and diversions, mitigating dams where there is no other option, and removing dams wherever possible.

Legal Protections: Our Clean Water Defense work is designed to fight off attempts to weaken current environmental protections such as the Clean Water Act and promote stronger legal safeguards for the world’s water resources. Waterkeeper Alliance and Waterkeeper organizations around the world fight polluters in courts of law, before regulatory agencies and in the court of public opinion on behalf of threatened communities and their life-sustaining water resources. We are leading the global fight for strong regulations and vigilant enforcement of environmental laws.

Ocean Plastic Recovery Initiative: Waterkeeper Alliance’s Ocean Plastic Recovery Initiative mobilizes a network of Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates around the world to establish recycling infrastructure and plastic recovery efforts to stop plastic pollution from entering our oceans.