Clean Water: Foundation of Healthy Communities and a Healthy Environment

This report compiles ongoing initiatives at four federal agencies in the Obama Administration to protect American water resources. The document summarizes programs of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of the Interior (DOI), and their partners, to preserve water quality and supply. The report describes new agency water resource initiatives, including updated draft guidance regarding Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

The report highlights initiatives and programs relating to climate change, and lists "Anticipating Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources" as a key strategy in the wider goal to use science to address water problems. This section of the report includes information on the USACE "Building Strong Collaborative Relationships for a Sustainable Water Resources Future" program, which aims to address climate change as an issue shared by Federal, state, tribal, and local water management agencies. As part of this effort, USACE is developing a Federal support toolbox to provide models and data to these agencies in order to help them address climate change. The report also describes EPA's community-level green infrastructure initiatives, which help localities improve water quality and meet Clean Water Act requirements.

The document describes the tools, initiatives, and approaches utilized by the federal agencies to protect and improve water resources. These strategies are categorized in the report based on the following seven broad goals:

  • Promote innovative partnerships such as EPA's Urban Waters Federal Partnership Program;
  • Protect the drinking water supply;
  • Restore important bodies of water to benefit communities and economies;
  • Utilize initiatives such as the WaterSMART program to help communities become more water-efficient;
  • Preserve public access to water resources and associated recreational opportunities;
  • Update national water policies; and
  • Incorporate new science and tools to inform water investments and programs.

 

Many of the initiatives described in the report are linked to the Clean Water Act. For example, one EPA program is working to make green infrastructure an available tool for meeting CWA requirements, while Clean Water Act Green Project Reserve funding is included as a tool to address drinking water contamination.

Publication Date: April 27, 2011

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