Waterkeepers Celebrate Clean Water Act 40 | Environment
*Additional writing by David Whiteside, Tennessee Riverkeeper
2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, an historic piece of legislation that turned the tide on our polluted waterways and began to hold big polluters accountable for their actions and impacts on the health of our communities. Because of the Clean Water Act, today we enjoy vastly improved water infrastructure and treatment, and a robust discussion thanks to citizen involvement in water management. As a direct result, our rivers no longer catch fire as the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland famously did in 1969.
Over the past 40 years, the Clean Water Act created the tools for tackling America’s water problems. But if we are to solve this country’s, and the world’s, looming water crisis, then we must make sure that is an even more powerful instrument over the next 40 years. Pat Mulroy, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, and one of the country’s most progressive water managers, famously said, ”If you want to really think outside the box, and really solve our water problems, we need to talk about solutions we’ve never had the courage to talk about before.” Now is the time to show that courage.
Throughout 2012, the Waterkeeper Alliance and Waterkeeper organizations across the United States are celebrating the Clean Water Act as the legal cornerstone of our work to protect clean water and healthy communities, while looking ahead at ways to make it stronger and more successful.
This campaign, CWA40, has been recognized with “Swimmable”, “Drinkable” and “Fishable” Water Action Days throughout the year that celebrate the victories we achieved utilizing the Act, and highlighting our basic fundamental right to clean water.
There are now over 200 autonomous Waterkeeper organization defending their local waterways around the world. Waterkeeper Alliance counts its proudest accomplishment as the depth and breadth of these 200 member organizations and the unity of their vision for clean water and strong communities. The first Riverkeeper was started on the Hudson River in 1966 by a group of commercial fishermen. Their miraculous success in cleaning up pollution in the Hudson River, has inspired the creation of over 199 similar Waterkeeper organizations across six continents.
As Waterkeeper Alliance celebrates 40 years of the Clean Water Act, we also look back at the ways Waterkeeper organizations across the U.S. have used the Clean Water Act, but most importantly how the citizens have won victories for their public waterways.
For more information and to find your local Waterkeeper organization, please visit: http://www.Waterkeeper.org