Clean Water Act Owner's Manual, 3rd Edition


The Clean Water Act became law 50 years ago. To commemorate the milestone of this landmark legislation and mark its continued resolve to protect waterways across our country, River Network has updated its Clean Water Act Owner’s Manual.


This updated Manual provides fundamental tools for interpreting and applying the Act, reflects changes to the Act, and highlights its intersections with environmental justice, climate change, and other longstanding challenges.


Without community attention to local waters, full protection of the many uses and functions of those waters cannot be achieved. Today, with limited resources at the local, state, and federal levels, and significant political pressure focused on weakening CWA protections, most implementation and enforcement actions taken under the CWA are “complaint-driven.” Concerned individuals are THE

driving force behind achieving the Act’s objective and goals. Together we must continue to build strong teams of locally-involved individuals who track changes in their waters, ask hard questions, and insist on implementation and enforcement of the CWA in ways that are just, advance equity, and take climate change into account.


At no time since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972 has our vigilance been so important. We must rise to the challenges and implement the vision of this law equally for all as we look ahead to the next 50 years of a changing climate.

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