Project Osiris – The Next 20 Years of Waterkeeper Alliance

This letter, co-written by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. & Marc Yaggi, originally appeared in our 2017 Annual Report.

Dear Waterkeeper Alliance supporter,

Pollution, diversion and drought have triggered a global water crisis that will be the central political, cultural and economic feature of our children’s lives. The World Bank predicts that the looming world water cataclysm — already affecting every continent — is the principal challenge to organized civilization in this century.

The Waterkeeper model — first proven during the Hudson River’s near-miraculous restoration — has now become the preeminent tool for both individuals and grassroots groups fighting the global water crisis. Waterkeeper Alliance is growing exponentially with more than 300 Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates already patrolling and protecting waterways on 6 continents. Thanks to your support, the Waterkeeper movement is the largest and fastest growing nonprofit solely focused on water. Demand for our model is now outpacing our capacity to serve aspiring Waterkeeper groups across the planet.

For the past year, we have been planning intensively to scale our successful model: we have critically assessed our organization, analyzed our movement’s optimum achievable pace for global growth, and developed a strategic business plan for positioning ourselves over the next 20 years. Executing this plan will allow Waterkeeper Alliance to meet our founding vision of having community-based Waterkeepers safeguarding every waterway in the world. We will improve each local Waterkeeper’s capacity to effectively pursue the goal of drinkable, fishable, swimmable waters worldwide. We will elevate the Waterkeeper profile as the go-to advocate on every important water issue. We have christened our plan “Project Osiris,” in reference to ancient Egypt’s all-important Nile River deity.

Project Osiris begins with large investments in training and support services for our more than 300 Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates, to enhance their work and bolster the skills needed to protect their waterways and communities. To broaden our base, we will strengthen and deepen our communications work; create a robust science and technology department; expand our rapid response capability during man-made and natural disasters; enhance our presence in Washington, D.C.; and dramatically increase our legal capacity to enforce, defend, and strengthen laws. In addition to bolstering our movement, we have developed a strategic growth plan to recruit the brightest and best-trained advocates on all habitable watersheds in the world.

We began our planning process by identifying the world’s most iconic and endangered waters. We devised a plan for our network to grow responsibly to cover more than 7 million square miles of watersheds in the first 5 years, protecting more than 1 billion people. By year 10, we plan to cover more than 12 million square miles of watersheds, protecting more than 3.75 billion people. By year 20, more than 20 million square miles of watersheds will have a Waterkeeper group, and our movement will protect more than 8 billion people.

Project Osiris is a bold plan. Thanks to your help over the years, Waterkeeper Alliance is now ready to execute it. We know that true change will start from strong leadership at the local level. Our plan will unleash an army of highly trained, committed, politically and technically skilled Waterkeepers, battle-hardened and armed to fight for a world where clean water is the life spring of global prosperity, dignity and human aspiration. We are grateful to you for working with us to make this plan a reality.

To clean water,

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President
Marc Yaggi, Executive Director


About Waterkeeper

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