WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Obama administration released a national clean water framework that it said emphasizes the importance of partnerships and coordination with states, local communities, stakeholders, and the public to protect public health and water quality, and promote the nation’s energy and economic security. The framework outlines a series of actions underway and planned across federal agencies. It includes draft federal guidance to clarify which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act nationwide; partnerships and programs to improve water quality and water efficiency; and initiatives to revitalize communities and economies by restoring rivers and critical watersheds.
According to the Obama administration, the framework accomplishes the following:
Promotes 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.
Enhances communities and economies by restoring important water bodies — The Obama administration said it 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.
Innovates 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.
Ensures clean water to protect public health — The Obama administration is pursuing new ways to protect public health by reducing contaminants in Americans’ drinking water. It is 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.
Enhances 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.
Updates the nation’s water policies — The administration is 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.
Supports 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.
Read the draft Clean Water Act guidance from U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/wetlands/CWAwaters.cfm