Clean Water Advocacy

Building a Local and Vocal Clean Water Movement


Access to clean, safe drinking water is a basic human right and should never be compromised.

Potomac Conservancy's Clean Water Advocacy program empowers a community of grassroots activists to ensure the Potomac River boasts clean drinking water, healthy lands, and connected communities. We protect the Potomac by advocating for clean water policies, promoting river friendly growth, and restoring local waterways.


We're holding local leaders accountable for keeping clean water a top priority.

The Potomac supplies drinking water to over 5 million people in the Washington, DC metro area. Restoring the river to full health is not just an environmental issue. It's a matter of public health. The same waters that flow out of our faucets are threatened by toxins, chemicals, bacteria, and nutrients. These pollutants come from agriculture, industry, and polluted runoff, which is the fastest growing source of pollution to the Potomac. 

Local, on-the-ground action coupled with state-led protections continue to be our best chance to save the Potomac and local streams. Now more than ever, the Potomac River needs local voices to stand up, show up, and speak up for clean water.

Take action today >

© William Macfarland, courtesy of

© William Macfarland, courtesy of

Nature-based Solutions

Polluted runoff from urban and suburban communities is the fastest growing source of pollution to the Potomac. Each time it rains, chemicals, toxins, and sediment flow into our waters from parking lots, roads, and rooftops. Trees, rain gardens, bioswales, and other nature-based solutions protect our waters by naturally filtering and slowing pollution before it reaches streams and creeks. We fight to safeguard and enhance urban tree canopy and green spaces, offering both natural solutions and economic opportunities for our communities.

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River Friendly Growth

By 2040, an estimated 2.3 million new residents will move into our region. Rapid urbanization propels forest loss at 70 acres per day and threatens the future health of the Potomac's lands and waters with increased pollution from runoff. Local communities have a say in how and where they grow. We engage with local leaders to plan for the future through river friendly development that prioritizes green space, limits sprawl, and protects our creeks and streams.

River Friendly Growth >


Diverse Coalitions

Change doesn't happen on its own. It takes the collective voices and actions of a diverse community to drive and achieve progress. To leverage our impact, Potomac Conservancy actively pursues partnerships among diverse interests including other watershed partners, national parks, community groups, businesses, faith organizations, and local decision makers. We promote active and consistent civic engagement, encouraging citizens to make clean water a priority issue for their elected representatives.


State of the Nation's River Report

After decades of decline, the Potomac River is on its way to recovery. Pollution levels are decreasing, fisheries are rebounding, and more people are getting outside to enjoy the river. The 2016 B- grade is up from a C in 2013 and a D in 2011. Efforts to restore the Potomac are indeed working. But our hometown river is not in the clear yet. Read the full report and learn what's going right and wrong for our hometown river.

Potomac Report Card >