Headquartered in Washington, DC, Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund operate programs nationally, regionally and locally, from a network of 19 offices around the country. We have members and supporters in all 50 states. To learn more about state and regional programs visit this page.
2021 brought major changes, new progress on clean water, climate and environmental justice
The first year of a new administration committed to reversing its predecessor’s extreme anti-environment policies opened up new opportunities for progress on many longstanding Clean Water Action priorities:
We continued to support organizing and people-based campaigns empowering communities to protect the water we drink from pollution and contamination. We helped pass a huge new infrastructure bill that will provide billions for water infrastructure and getting the lead out of our water systems. We made significant progress reversing the disastrous Trump Dirty Water Rule and advancing policies to prevent destruction and contamination of drinking water sources.
Clean Water Action helped states, communities and businesses accelerate the transition to clean, renewable energy, reduce pollution from cars and trucks, and reign in dangerous oil and gas industry emissions. These victories advanced climate solutions while protecting vulnerable front line communities. Too many communities remain on the receiving end of too much pollution, and are vulnerable to weather extremes — severe storms, flooding, drought and heat. Clean Water Action helped amplify their voices in the climate debate, pushing to make sure more of the economic benefits of climate solutions are shared by these communities.
Waste & Toxics
Clean Water Action continues to lead environmental community efforts on toxic PFAS “forever chemicals,” winning new laws to keep them out of drinking water sources, food packaging and consumer products, and holding corporate polluters responsible for the harm they cause. Our experts have advanced new strategies for bringing the Clean Water Act to bear on the problem, and our organizers joined with coalition allies, mobilizing consumers and retailers to reject PFAS use in everyday products and packaging. Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund’s award-winning ReThink Disposable program is helping businesses and consumers eliminate costly, wasteful and polluting single-use disposable plastics and winning policies to ban throwaway bags and foamware.
Attempts to overturn the 2020 election and polluters’ record-shattering spending on politics and lobbying illustrate the urgent need for a more inclusive democracy and the voting reforms supported by Clean Water Action. A healthy, thriving democracy in which more people are able to register and vote safely and securely, and to have their votes count, is the best antidote to big corporations’ outsized influence. This remains essential for realizing our long-term goals of fishable, swimmable, drinkable water for all. Making sure people who support clean water are educated, organized and prepared to take action as Clean Water Voters, bringing these concerns to the ballot box in winning numbers, and holding elected officials accountable remained core Clean Water Action strategies.
These accomplishments built momentum for continued progress on key issues in 2022 and beyond, including:
- Advancing climate solutions that create jobs and protect clean water.
- Access to clean water for all. As the pandemic demonstrated, households must be protected against residential water shut-offs. Financially struggling people need water bill assistance, and water systems also need support to ensure their rates are affordable.
- Winning tens of billions of dollars in new federal spending on water infrastructure that will address long-neglected needs and benefit communities most at risk — including $15 billion to get the lead out of our drinking water systems.
- Strengthening pollution prevention and harnessing under-utilized tools in the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and other laws to get the job done, for PFAS “forever” chemicals and other persistent toxic pollutants.
- Tackling environmental injustice — where communities of color face extreme pollution burdens (air, land, water and workplaces), financial hardship and political disenfranchisement.
- Working with businesses and consumers to stem the tide of single-use disposables, and the plastic trash which ends up in our water.
- Repealing the previous administration’s disastrous “Dirty Water Rule,” and replacing it to make sure all streams, wetlands — including drinking water sources for millions — are protected under the Clean Water Act.