Our Clean Water Defense campaign is leading the global fight for strong regulations and vigilant enforcement of environmental laws.
Governments around the world have enacted laws to protect water quality and the communities that depend on clean water. Waterkeeper groups around the world work with those laws to restore and protect the world’s waterways. 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 drinkable, fishable and swimmable conditions. Increasingly, however, these laws are being rolled back, or even eliminated, to serve powerful corporate interests. The threats are coming from the President, Congress and even agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency – the sole mission of which is to protect human health and the environment from pollution.
Waterkeeper Alliance’s Clean Water Defense campaign and our international network of Waterkeeper groups:
- Work with communities to protect and restore waterways around the world
- Aggressively oppose the weakening or elimination of federal environmental statutes, regulations, enforcement, and funding in the United States and around the world
- Support clean and free-flowing rivers and waterways
Waterkeeper Alliance believes that strategic partnerships and strong, issue-based coalitions are essential to protecting and restoring waterways around the world. Waterkeeper groups combine a unique set of strengths that make them highly-valued assets in any coalition fighting for clean water: a solid reputation for professionalism and courage; unrivaled expertise in the scientific, policy and legal issues in their watersheds; deep roots in and support from their communities; knowledgeable and skilled attorneys; and diverse partnerships with key organizations and experts in law, engineering, biology, hydrology, policy, and economics.
Waterkeeper groups 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 their waterway, patrolling and protecting more than 2.5 million square miles of rivers, streams, and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa.
Attacks on Clean Water
In the courtroom, before legislatures and regulatory agencies, and in the court of public opinion, we stand for our communities and for clean water. Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates are helping lead the opposition to corporate and ideological assaults on the laws and systems that protect public health and the world’s life-sustaining water resources. In the U.S., we launched Dive Into Democracy, a blog series that calls attention to current attacks on America’s clean water protections and tells readers how to take action. We’re standing against a massive and multi-pronged attack on federal environmental statutes, regulations, enforcement, and funding by the President, Congress, and numerous regulatory agencies. We are leading the global fight for strong regulations and vigilant enforcement of environmental laws.
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.
Ocean Plastic Recovery Initiative
Waterkeeper Alliance’s Ocean Plastic Recovery Initiative mobilizes a network of Waterkeeper groups around the world to establish recycling infrastructure and plastic recovery efforts to stop plastic pollution from entering our oceans. This network operates recycling facilities where recovered plastic is consolidated, sorted, and baled.
Pollution does not impact everyone equally. Low-income communities are far too often excluded from the decision making process around the siting of these facilities. As a result, the burden of industrial waste, including toxic waste, elevated air pollution, contaminated drinking water, and other unsafe conditions have disproportionately harmed these communities for generations. We need to put real dollars to work in restoring and remediating distressed areas to provide justice, equality, and better health outcomes to correct decades of environmental damage inflicted upon the health and wellbeing of low-income communities, communities of color, and Indigenous communities.
Adequate water is an increasingly scarce resource that must be actively and aggressively protected from further depletion by the effects of climate change, overuse and mismanagement. This is particularly important for our most vulnerable frontline communities that often experience the first and worst consequences. All fossil fuel extraction must be opposed in order to slow the rate of water depletion driven by climate change, conservation and efficiency laws must be enacted to protect shrinking supplies, and regulations and incentive programs that encourage water management best practices must be adopted. Water plans, laws, and regulations should be inclusive in order to be more durable and more effective.
The availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all is crucial to clean water. Public sewage systems must receive consistent investment and inspection. Aging infrastructure and pipes should be upgraded with low-interest grants now before they fail and potentially impair waterways. Wetland restoration, daylighting, and other green solutions should be funded to help absorb stormwater before it combines with sewer systems. Education campaigns must be undertaken to ensure septic systems are used properly where public sewage systems do not apply.
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