Clean water provides critical health, economic and livability benefits to American communities. Since 1972, the Clean Water Act has kept billions of pounds of pollution out of American waters, doubling the number of waters that meet safety standards for swimming and fishing. Despite the dramatic progress in restoring the health of the Nation's waters, an estimated one-third of American waters still do not meet the swimmable and fishable standards of the Clean Water Act. Additionally, new pollution and development challenges threaten to erode our gains, and demand innovative and strong action in partnership with Federal agencies, states, and the public to ensure clean and healthy water for American families, businesses, and communities.

The Obama Administration is safeguarding clean water by:

Promoting innovative partnerships

Federal agencies are partnering with states, tribes, local governments and diverse stakeholders on innovative approaches to restore urban waters, promote sustainable water supplies, and develop new incentives for farmers to protect clean water.

Enhancing communities and economies by restoring important water bodies

The Obama Administration is dedicating unprecedented attention to restoring iconic places like the Chesapeake Bay, California Bay-Delta, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and Everglades, investing in action and helping states, local governments and stakeholders find pollution control solutions that are tailored to their specific needs.

Innovating for more water-efficient communities

The Administration is working with policymakers, consumers, farmers and businesses to save water — and save money — through 21st century water management policies and technology.

Ensuring clean water to protect public health

The Obama Administration is aggressively pursuing new ways to protect public health by reducing contaminants in Americans' drinking water. We are updating drinking water standards, protecting drinking water sources, modernizing the tools available to communities to meet their clean water requirements, and providing affordable clean water services in rural communities.

Enhancing use and enjoyment of our waters

The Administration is promoting stewardship of America's waters through innovative programs and partnerships. These efforts include expanding access to waterways for recreation, protecting rural landscapes, and promoting public access to private lands for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities.

Updating the nation's water policies

The Administration is strengthening protection of America's waters and American communities. We are modernizing water resources guidelines, and updating Federal guidance on where the Clean Water Act applies nationwide. The draft guidance will protect waters that many communities depend upon for drinking, swimming, and fishing, and provide clearer, more predictable guidelines for determining which water bodies are protected from pollution under the Clean Water Act. The guidance is open for 60 days of public comment to all allow all stakeholders to provide input and feedback before it is finalized. 

Supporting science to solve water problems

The Administration is using the latest science and research to improve water policies and programs and identify and address emerging pollution challenges.

For more information and to read the Obama Administration's clean water framework, visit