Almost 50 years ago, the United States recognized that access to clean, safe water is a critical human right and passed the Clean Water Act.
This powerful law ended the culture of dumping raw sewage and untreated industrial waste into our waters and led to a dramatic improvement in the health and safety of waterways across the country. 2022 marks a monument year in which we can celebrate the power and promise of this revolutionary law to protect communities around the country and in our region.
The Clean Water Act, a truly revolutionary law, put enforcement into the hands of impacted community members. Since 1972, community activists, including Waterkeepers across the nation, have used this powerful tool to build a legacy of protecting clean water. We are launching the Clean Water Act 50th Anniversary Campaign (CWA50) to use this anniversary to catalyze the past successes into a cleaner, more just future.
Waterkeepers Chesapeake, along with clean water advocates around the world, seeks to celebrate the movement for clean water. Working together in our communities, we will design local events and uplift stories to highlight clean water successes. The events and stories will provide a forum for local leaders in clean water advocacy — community activists, outdoor enthusiasts, business owners, farmers, watermen, clergy, property owners, educators – to build a movement that addresses the challenges of today and the next 50 years. The full promise of the Clean Water Act has yet to be met. Too many communities have been unjustly burdened by pollution due to the deeply-imbedded systemic racism plaguing our regulatory systems. These communities are also the first to face the local consequences of a changing climate: unnatural cycles of flooding and drought, increased pests and diseases, and storm damages.
Clean Water Stories
The need for clean water transcends political, racial, social, and economic boundaries. We aim to elevate the voices of people who have successfully used the Clean Water Act to protect their communities as well as those still fighting for justice and to protect their communities from pollution! We invite you to submit your clean water story.
Clean Water Celebrations
We invite communities, nonprofits, local businesses, faith communities, youth groups — everyone who loves clean water — to host celebratory events that will engage their communities and uplift access to clean water for all! We envision (at least) 50 celebratory events throughout the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays region. Events can vary from kayak trips and river clean ups to spoken word events, water-side chats and panel discussions.
Clean Water Advocacy
While the Clean Water Act has done a great deal to restore our waterways, there is still a lot left to do to fully implement the act at the state and local level. Additionally, challenges like climate change were not envisioned when the law was created, and BIPOC communities have largely been left out of the success stories. Let’s work together for better clean water laws for our communities.