Water resource policy

Water resource policy encompasses the policy-making processes that affect the collection, preparation, use and disposal of water to support human uses and protect environmental quality.

Water policy addresses provision, use, disposal and sustainability decisions. Provision includes identification, access, preparation for use and distribution. Uses include direct human consumption, agriculture, industry and ecosystem protection.[1] Policy must set the rules for how water is allocated to the different uses. Disposal involves wastewater treatment and stormwater/flood management. Sustainability addresses issues such as aquifer depletion, reservoir management and mineral buildup.

"Supply isn't just about water production, it is also about distribution infrastructure."[2]:9

A second dimension of issues addresses how policies are created, executed and amended. Since water resources often cross political boundaries, water policies must often be negotiated among multiple political entities (nations, states, etc.) Commentators such as Halcrow project resource wars as demand continues to increase.[3]:27

Policy makers typically adopt a set of best management practices BMPs to govern water management. BMPs cover everything from dam construction to wastewater treatment protocols.

Water resource policies may encompass

"regions, catchments, shared or transboundary water resources, and inter-basin transfers. Policy leads management practices, but best management practices are identified, evaluated, modified and disseminated by policy making bodies."[4]

Water resource policy issues are receiving increased attention[3] as water shortages are believed to be at crisis levels in some regions.[5] These regional crises have the potential worldwide implications.[6][7]

Organizations such as the Global Water Policy Project have sprung up to promote awareness and prod governments and NGOs into heightened awareness of the problems.[8]

World water availability

Global water resource policy objectives

According to the World Water Assessment Programme, a UN-sanctioned Task Force, the objectives for global water resource policies include developing a standardized method for monitoring water sector progress and performance, improving reporting and identifying priority actions.[9] In all nations conflict between users are expected to intensify, complicating policy-making.[10]

Institutional participants


The 1977 Mar del Plata United Nations Conference on Water was the first intergovernmental water conference, leading to the 1980 Declaration of the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade by the UN General Assembly.[11]

The United Nations Environmental Program hosts water resource policy-making agencies and disseminating BMPs worldwide. This role has been enhanced by various policy directives and other initiatives:

  • UN General Assembly Resolution 3436 (XXX) Agenda 21
  • 1997 Nairobi Declaration on the Role and Mandate of UNEP and
  • 2000 Malmö Ministerial Declaration adopted at the First Global Ministerial Environment Forum.[12]
  • 2002 Earth Summit 2015 safe drinking water targets.[13]
  • 2007 World Bank report series on Environment and Development[14] that in 2009 reported on Environmental Flows in Water Resources Policies, Plans, and Projects[15]


Treaties between nations may enumerate policies, rights and responsibilities. For instance, a treaty between Poland and Germany, "An Agreement to establish cooperation on water resources management" provides:

  • supply of drinking water of good quality,
  • protection of surface water,
  • supply of water to agriculture,
  • fight against water pollution.[16]

The Permanent Court of International Justice adjudicates disputes between nations, including water rights litigation.[17]


Some non-governmental organizations have consultative status at the UN. One such group is the World Water Council, an "international multi-stakeholder platform" established in 1996 to act "at all levels, including the highest decision-making level...[in] protection, development, planning, management and use of water in all its dimensions...for the benefit of all life on earth." It was an outgrowth of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Dublin and at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit. The Council is based in Marseilles.[18] Its multi-stakeholder basis as due to the fact that "authority for managing the world's fresh water resources is fragmented amongst the world's nations, hundreds of thousands of local governments, and countless non-governmental and private organizations, as well as a large number of international bodies."

In 1994, the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) organized a special session on the topic in its Eighth World Water Congress held in Cairo in November 1994, leading to creation of the World Water Council.[18]

Business water resource policy initiatives

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development engages stakeholders in H2OScenarios[19] that consider various alternative policies and their effects.

In June 2011 in Geneva, the Future of Water Virtual Conference addressed water resource sustainability. Issues raised included: water infrastructure monitoring,[2] global water security, potential resource wars, interaction between water, energy, food and economic activity, the "true value" of "distribution portions of available water" and a putative "investment gap" in water infrastructure.[3][20] It was asserted that climate change will affect scarcity of water but the water security presentation emphasized that a combined effect with population growth "could be devastating".[3] Identified corporate water related risks include physical supply, regulatory and product reputation.[3]:23

This forum indicated policy concerns with:

  • trade barriers
  • price supports
  • treatment of water as a free good creates underpricing of 98% of water[3]:2
  • need to intensify debate
  • need to harmonize public/private sectors[3]:28

Structural constraints on policy makers

Policies are implemented by organizational entities created by government exercise of state power. However, all such entities are subject to constraints upon their autonomy.[21]

Jurisdictional issues

Subject matter and geographic jurisdiction are distinguishable.[22]

The jurisdiction of any water agency is limited by political boundaries and by enabling legislation.

In some cases, limits target specific types of uses (wilderness, agricultural, urban-residential, urban-commercial, etc.)

A second part of jurisdictional limitation governs the subject matter that the agency controls, such as flood control, water supply and sanitation, etc.

In many locations, agencies may face unclear or overlapping authority, increasing conflicts and delaying conflict resolution. For instance, recent changes in California law intended to reduce air quality problems from shipping have been interfered with by Federal legal changes intended to reduce the cost of shipping.[23]

California water regulatory bodies

  • Coastal Commission
  • Coastal Conservancy
  • Department of Fish & Game
  • Department of Water Resources
  • Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES)
  • Ocean and Coastal Environmental Access Network (OCEAN)
  • Resources Agency Wetlands Information System
  • State Water Resources Control Board[24][25]
  • Public Health Departments
  • Water districts

Typical information access issue

As reported by the non-partisan Civil Society Institute, a 2005 US Congressional study on water supply was suppressed and became the target of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation.[26]


Flood control

Water can produce a natural disaster in the form of tsunamis, hurricanes, rogue waves and storm surge. Land-based floods can originate from bursting dams, rivers overflowing their banks or levee failure.

Multi-jurisdictional issues

One jurisdiction's projects may cause problems in other jurisdictions. For instance, Monterey County, California controls a body of water that acts as a reservoir for San Luis Obispo County. The specific responsibilities for managing the resource must therefore be negotiated.


Surface and groundwater

Surface water and groundwater can be studied and managed as separate resources as a single resource in multiple forms.[27] Jurisdictions typically distinguish three recognized groundwater classifications: subterranean streams, underflow of surface waters, and percolating groundwater.[28]


Drinking water and water for utilitarian uses such as washing, crop cultivation and manufacture is competed for by various constituencies:

  • Residential
  • Agriculture. "Many rural people practice subsistence rain fed agriculture as a basic livelihood strategy, and as such are vulnerable to the effects of drought or flood that can diminish or destroy a harvest. "[29]
  • Construction
  • Industrial
  • Municipal or institutional activities


Seawater resources are important for ethical-aesthetic reasons, recreation, tourism, maintenance of fisheries. The sea is a venue for shipping and for oil and mineral extraction that creates a need for regulatory policy. A variety of issues confronts policy makers.


Ballast water, fuel/oil leaks and trash originating from ships foul harbors, reefs and estuaries. Ballast water may contain toxins, invasive plants, animals, viruses, and bacteria.

Oil rigs and undersea mineral extraction can create problems that affect shorelines, marine life, fisheries and human safety. Decommissioning of such operations has another set of issues. Rigs-to-reefs is a proposal for using obsolete oil rigs as substrate for coral reefs that has failed to reach consensus.

Surface water (runoff) and wastewater discharge

Regulatory bodies address piped waste water discharges to surface water that include riparian and ocean ecosystems.[30] These review bodies are charged with protecting wilderness ecology, wildlife habitat, drinking water, agricultural irrigation and fisheries. Stormwater discharge can carry fertilizer residue and bacterial contamination from domestic and wild animals.[31] They have the authority to make orders which are binding upon private actors such as international corporations[32] and do not hesitate to exercise the police powers of the state. Water agencies have statutory mandate which in many hurisdictions is resilient to pressure from constituents and lawmakers in which they on occasion stand their ground despite heated opposition from agricultural interests[33] On the other hand, the Boards enjoy strong support from environmental concerns such as Greenpeace,Heal the Ocean and Channelkeepers.[34]

Water quality issues or sanitation concerns reuse or water recycling and pollution control which in turn breaks out into stormwater and wastewater.

Stormwater runoff

Surface runoff is water that flows when heavy rains do not infiltrate soil; excess water from rain, meltwater, or other sources flowing over the land. This is a major component of the water cycle.[35][36] Runoff that occurs on surfaces before reaching a channel is also called a nonpoint source. When runoff flows along the ground, it can pick up soil contaminants including, but not limited to petroleum, pesticides, or fertilizers that become discharge or nonpoint source pollution.[37][38]


Wastewater is water that has been discharged from human use. The primary discharges flow from the following sources:

  • residences
  • commercial properties
  • industry
  • agriculture

Sewage is technically wastewater contaminated with fecal and similar animal waste byproducts, but is frequently used as a synonym for wastewater. Origination includes cesspool and sewage outfall pipes.

Water treatment is subject to the same overlapping jurisdictional constraints which affect other aspects of water policy.[21] For instance, levels of chloramines with their resulting toxic trihalomethane by-product are subject to Federal guidelines even though water management implementing those policy constraints are carried out by local water boards.[39]

See also


  1. ^ "Law on Water Resources Development".
  2. ^ a b "Global Citizenship - Dow" (PDF). www.futurewecreate.com.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Global Citizenship - Dow" (PDF). www.futurewecreate.com.
  4. ^ "IWRM Toolbox".
  5. ^ "Integrated Water Resources Management" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Fight for Water Hits Crisis Levels Worldwide".
  8. ^ "Global Water Policy Project".
  9. ^ "Monitoring progress in the water sector: A selected set of indicators" (PDF).
  10. ^ Administrator. "Dehydrating Conflict". www.globalpolicy.org.
  11. ^ "Giving an audible voice to water".
  12. ^ "Division of Environmental Law and Conventions".
  13. ^ "Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 Report". Who.int. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  14. ^ "World Bank-Series on Environment and Development" (PDF).
  15. ^ "Environmental Flows in Water Resources Policies, Plans, and Projects-World Bank-Series on Environment and Development" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Poland on cooperation on water resource management".
  17. ^ "Agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Poland on cooperation on water resource management".
  18. ^ a b "Vision, Mission, Strategy". World Water Council. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
  19. ^ "H2OScenarios".
  20. ^ "The Future of Science Education".
  21. ^ a b Poulantzas, Nicos Ar (1978). Political Power and Social Classes. Verso. ISBN 978-0-8052-7050-1.
  22. ^ Black, Henry Campbell (1999). Black's Law Dictionary. West Group. ISBN 978-0-314-22864-2.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-05-08. Retrieved 2019-05-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ State Water Resources Control Board Water Quality Control Policy for the Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California (1974) State of California
  25. ^ Hans Middendorp. "Dr. Ir. Hans Middendorp Auteur Hans Middendorp - Nietbangvoorwater.info ®". Niet bang voor water (in Dutch). Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  26. ^ "Foia Lawsuit Targets U.S. Department Of Energy For Withholding 'Water Energy Roadmap' Ordered By Congress". Civilsocietyinstitute.org. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
  27. ^ United States Geological Survey (USGS). Denver, CO. "Ground Water and Surface Water: A Single Resource." USGS Circular 1139. 1998.
  28. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110615051911/http://www.blm.gov/nstc/WaterLaws/california.html. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ Pedreros, Diego H. "Evaluation of the Use of Forecast Interpretations information". University of California Santa Barbara: 16th Conference on Climate Variability and Change. Bonilla, A.; Ramirez, P.; Funk, C.; Husak, G.; Michaelsen; Aguilar, L. "Climate Predictions on Seasonal and Interannual Time Scales:". |first5= missing |last5= (help)
  30. ^ "State and Regional Water Boards".
  31. ^ "Whom We Regulate".
  32. ^ "Water quality board orders Shell to clean soil at Carousel tract in Carson".
  33. ^ "California water rules rile farmers".
  34. ^ "Hilary Spoke To Regional Water Quality Control Board Today".
  35. ^ Robert E. Horton, The Horton Papers (1933)
  36. ^ Beven, Keith (2004). "Robert E. Horton's perceptual model of infiltration processes". Hydrological Processes. 18 (17): 3447–3460. doi:10.1002/hyp.5740.
  37. ^ Davis, Mackenzie; Masten, Susan (22 February 2013). Principles of Environmental Engineering Science: Third Edition. McGraw-Hill Higher Education. ISBN 978-0-07-749219-9.
  38. ^ (PDF) https://web.archive.org/web/20160303232426/http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/instream_flows/docs/not_wdm070111.pdf. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2016. Retrieved June 24, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  39. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20100125234751/http://www.ccwa.com/chloramines.htm. Archived from the original on January 25, 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links

Coosa river basin initiative

Coosa River Basin Initiative(CRBI) is a 501c3 grassroots environmental organization based in Rome, Georgia with the mission of informing and empowering citizens to protect, preserve and restore North America's most biologically diverse river basin, the Coosa. Since 1992, the staff, board and members have served as advocates for "the wise stewardship of the natural resources of the Upper Coosa River basin, or watershed, which stretches from southeastern Tennessee and north central Georgia to Weiss Dam in Northeast Alabama. This includes the Coosa River, the Etowah and Oostanaula rivers and the tributaries of these waterways as well as the land drained by these streams and the air that surrounds this land area."

A member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, CRBI is also known as the Upper Coosa Riverkeeper. As such, they work to enforce the Clean Water Act, by monitoring pollution and polluters. When pollution problems are identified all necessary means , including legal action, are utilized to correct these problems.

As a member of the Georgia Water Coalition and Alabama Rivers Alliance, CRBI works to influence water resource policy in both Georgia and Alabama so that clean and plentiful water is available now and in the future. The organization works in four program areas: advocacy, education, water monitoring and restoration.

In addition to its Rome office, CRBI has a chapter organization, New Echota Rivers Alliance, which operates from Calhoun, Georgia and keeps watch over the Oostanaula River and its tributaries.

Developing country

A developing country (or a low and middle income country (LMIC), less developed country, less economically developed country (LEDC), or underdeveloped country) is a country with a less developed industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is also no clear agreement on which countries fit this category. A nation's GDP per capita compared with other nations can also be a reference point.

The term "developing" describes a currently observed situation and not a changing dynamic or expected direction of progress. Since the late 1990s, developing countries tended to demonstrate higher growth rates than developed countries. Developing countries include, in decreasing order of economic growth or size of the capital market: newly industrialized countries, emerging markets, frontier markets, Least Developed Countries. Therefore, the least developed countries are the poorest of the developing countries.

Developing countries tend to have some characteristics in common. For example, with regards to health risks, they commonly have: low levels of access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene; energy poverty; high levels of pollution (e.g. air pollution, indoor air pollution, water pollution); high proportion of people with tropical and infectious diseases (neglected tropical diseases); high number of road traffic accidents. Often, there is also widespread poverty, low education levels, inadequate access to family planning services, corruption at all government levels and a lack of so-called good governance. Effects of global warming (climate change) are expected to impact developing countries more than wealthier countries, as most of them have a high "climate vulnerability".The Sustainable Development Goals, by the United Nations, were set up to help overcome many of these problems. Development aid or development cooperation is financial aid given by governments and other agencies to support the economic, environmental, social and political development of developing countries.

Environmental governance in Brazil

Environmental governance is a concept in environmental policy that steers markets, technology and society towards achieving the goal of sustainability. It considers social, economic and environmental aspects in the decision making of its policies.

Brazil is currently developing at an incredibly fast rate, only out-performed by countries such as China and India, both in terms of economic growth and recovery rate after the global financial crisis in the late 2000s. The saying that “Brazil is the country of the future...and it always will be” has haunted Brazil for decades. But recent economic policy changes, made since the founding of the New Republic, have allowed Brazil to start gaining international confidence. This was epitomised when American President Barack Obama stated that “The people of Brazil should know that the future has arrived” during a visit to Rio de Janeiro in March 2011. Brazil is also no longer referred to as a developing country, but as an emerging country, a newly industrialised country (NIC) and as a member of the BRIC economies. But with this fast economic growth rate comes huge responsibility in terms of sustainability. Brazil's economic growth is supported by the huge demand of natural resources from China, resources that Brazil has in abundance. Brazil is currently successfully matching the needs of China's manufacturing industry and with huge investments currently being made to sustain this demand from China, Brazil is building new ports and airports and increasing the capacity of its current ones.However, this vast extraction of natural resources is coming at a price for the natural environment. Former Environment Minister Marina Silva resigned in 2008 as she felt the Brazilian government was prioritizing the interests of big businesses and the economy, and felt she was fighting a losing battle to protect many of Brazil's natural environments, including the Amazon Rainforest.Despite these claims, Brazil has been praised for its environmental sustainability efforts and attempts to reduce its carbon emissions. The Brazilian government created the Ministry of the Environment (MMA) in 1985 and following this, organisations have been created, such as IBAMA in 1989, with the aim to protect the natural environment. Brazil has also taken a front seat with regards to global environmental governance by jointly creating and presiding the Megadiverse Like-Minded Countries Group, which includes 70% of the world's living biodiversity and 45% of the world's population.

Global Water Challenge

The Global Water Challenge (GWC) is a non-profit organization to provide safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene education worldwide to people who lack these services. Launched by a diverse coalition of corporations, foundations, and aid organizations, the GWC is a unique partnership to build healthy communities and provide sustainable solutions to ensure the availability of potable water for those in need. The goal of the GWC is to bring safe water and sanitation to millions by identifying and multiplying the solutions that work.

GWC has worked with other non-profit organizations such as Blood: Water Mission.

Global Water Policy Project

The Global Water Policy Project (GWPP) was founded by Sandra Postel in 1994. Its aim is to promote the preservation of Earth's freshwater through research, writing, outreach and public speaking. The GWPP is based in New Mexico, in the southwestern United States.

Heal the Bay

Heal the Bay is a U.S. environmental advocacy non-profit organization based in Santa Monica, California. The organization's focus is on protecting California's Santa Monica Bay, a region of the Pacific coast encompassed by Malibu's Point Dume on the north and the Palos Verdes Peninsula on the south. In broader terms, it also supports efforts to preserve and protect all Southern California coastal waters and watersheds.

Heal the Bay was founded in 1985 by a group led by environmental activist Dorothy Green. Mark Gold became the president of the organization in 2006 and held the position until 2012. The current president and CEO is Shelley Luce, who took the post in April 2017. The organization has become a prominent advocate for the environment in California, and is particularly known for its annual report card ratings of the water quality at beaches along the Pacific coast. It was also active in advocating for restrictions on plastic bags in California.

Heal the Bay supports public health and education outreach programs as well as sponsoring beach cleanup programs such as Coastal Cleanup Day and Adopt-a-Beach. It also operates the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which was formerly known as the Ocean Discovery Center and was operated by UCLA until 2003. Heal the Bay has recently been the subject of some controversy regarding its positions on the Ballona Wetlands, with some stakeholder groups such as the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust criticizing Heal the Bay for not opposing various special interest land uses in the Ballona Wetlands.Heal the Bay is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It has both full-time paid staff members and volunteers. It works with a number of partners in pursuing its goals.

International Rivers

International Rivers is a non-profit, non-governmental, environmental and human rights organization. Founded in 1985 by social and environmental activists, International Rivers works with policy and financial analysts, scientists, journalists, development specialists, local citizens, and volunteers to combat destructive dams and their legacies in over 60 countries.

International Rivers has staff in South Africa, Thailand, Brazil, China, India, and the United States. The staff has expertise in a range of issues and uses research, education, and advocacy to achieve the organization's mission.

List of public policy topics by country

This is a list of articles on public policy topics, arranged by country.

Rutherford Platt

Rutherford Hayes Platt, Jr. (11 August 1894, Columbus, Ohio – 28 May 1975, Boston) was an American nature writer, photographer, and advertising executive.

San Diego Coastkeeper

San Diego Coastkeeper is a grassroots environmental 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advocates for clean water throughout San Diego County. Coastkeeper is San Diego’s official agency of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, which works to protect the world’s waterways.

Save Our Shores

Save Our Shores (SOS) is a marine conservation nonprofit dedicated to "fostering a thriving Monterey Bay and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary through clean shores, healthy habitats, and living waters.”Over the last 40 years, Save Our Shores has been responsible for establishing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), preventing offshore oil drilling along the Central Coast of California, developing the nationally renowned Dockwalkers clean boating program, banning single-use plastic bags in over 30 jurisdictions, and leading various marine conservation beach cleanups and K-12 educational programs throughout the Monterey Bay area.

Today, the organization primarily focuses on advocacy, marine debris (specifically plastic pollution), and helping community members become ocean stewards. This includes educating the greater community about local watersheds and marine protected areas (MPA), tackling the plastic pollution problem by passing local ordinances and hosting cleanups, supporting habitat conservation efforts, educating and empowering community members to help them face oncoming climate change, and continuing to implement their historic Sanctuary Stewards and Dockwalker programs.


Seacology is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization headquartered in Berkeley, California, that works to preserve island ecosystems and cultures around the world. Founded in 1991, it began with the work of ethnobotanist Paul Alan Cox, who researched tropical plants and their medicinal value in the village of Falealupo in Samoa during the mid-1980s. When the villagers were pressured into selling logging rights to their rainforest in 1988 to build a new school, Cox and his wife offered to help secure funds for the new school in return for an agreement with the villagers to protect their forest. With the help of his friends and family, Cox secured the funds within six months, later earning him and the village chief, Fuiono Senio, the Goldman Environmental Prize for their efforts. Word spread throughout the islands, and with increasing demand for similar projects, Cox, along with Bill Marré and Ken Murdock, decided to form Seacology and expand their work internationally. For the first few years, the organization operated on a volunteer basis. Duane Silverstein became the first employee in 1999, and headquarters were relocated to Berkeley, not far from his residence.

Because of the high risk of extinction for island fauna and the decline in coral reef ecosystems, Seacology's primary focus is projects in which villagers sign contracts under which they agree to help protect either terrestrial or marine habitat for a specified time in return for new buildings or services. The operations are low-cost, averaging around US$20,000 to $25,000. Construction is done with local labor and sometimes without the use of machinery. Seacology selects its projects by reviewing the recommendations of its field representatives and its scientific advisory board.

By mid-2018, Seacology had initiated more than 300 projects globally, and helped preserve 760,879 acres (3,079 km2; 1,189 sq mi) of marine habitat and 579,700 acres (2,346 km2; 905.8 sq mi) of terrestrial habitat. At the same time, they had helped construct new facilities and provided programs including educational materials, vital medical services, and environmental training. In addition to helping local people on islands like those in Fiji, the Philippines, and many others, their projects have helped protect mangrove forests, sea turtles, dugongs, and one of the rarest primates in the world: the Hainan black crested gibbon. Seacology also awards an annual Seacology Prize to indigenous islanders for their efforts in conservation and cultural preservation. The organization helps support island communities by fostering ecotourism, and has helped raise emergency funds following destructive tsunamis and other natural disasters. Its budget is modest, and it does not compensate its board members. It has won awards from Yahoo! and Travel + Leisure magazine, and has been featured in the music video "What About Now" by the American rock band Daughtry.

Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is an environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892, in San Francisco, California, by the Scottish-American preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club primarily operates in the United States; an affiliated organization, Sierra Club Canada, operates in Canada and deals exclusively with Canadian issues.

Traditionally associated with the progressive movement, the club was one of the first large-scale environmental preservation organizations in the world, and currently engages in lobbying politicians to promote environmentalist policies. Recent focuses of the club include promoting sustainable energy, mitigating global warming, and opposing the use of coal. The club is known for its political endorsements, which are often sought after by candidates in local elections; it generally supports liberal and progressive candidates in elections.

The Sierra Club is organized on both a national and local level. The club is divided into large chapters representing large geographic areas, some of which have tens of thousands of members. These chapters are divided into regional groups, and special interest sections, committees, and task forces. While much activity is coordinated at a local level, the Club is a unified organization; decisions made at the national level take precedence.

In addition to political advocacy, the Sierra Club organizes outdoor recreation activities, and has historically been a notable organization for mountaineering and rock climbing in the United States. Members of the Sierra Club pioneered the Yosemite Decimal System of climbing, and were responsible for a substantial amount of the early development of climbing. Much of this activity occurred in the group's namesake Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Club does not set standards for or regulate alpinism, but it organizes wilderness courses, hikes, and occasional alpine expeditions for members. In California, the club, through its outdoor recreation groups, is usually considered the state's analogue to other state mountaineering clubs such as Mazamas or the Colorado Mountain Club.

Stockholm International Water Institute

Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is a Stockholm-based policy institute that generates knowledge and guides decision-making towards water wise decisions. Founded in 1991, SIWI performs research, builds institutional capacity and provides advisory services in five thematic areas: water governance, transboundary water management, water and climate change, the water-energy-food nexus, and water economics.

The Watershed Project

The Watershed Project is an environmental nonprofit organization based in the University of California’s Richmond Field Station. Its mission is "To inspire Bay Area communities to understand, appreciate and protect our local watersheds."

Water pollution

Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies, usually as a result of human activities. Water bodies include for example lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers and groundwater. Water pollution results when contaminants are introduced into the natural environment. For example, releasing inadequately treated wastewater into natural water bodies can lead to degradation of aquatic ecosystems. In turn, this can lead to public health problems for people living downstream. They may use the same polluted river water for drinking or bathing or irrigation. Water pollution is the leading worldwide cause of death and disease, e.g. due to water-borne diseases.Water pollution can be grouped into surface water pollution. Marine pollution and nutrient pollution are subsets of water pollution. Sources of water pollution are either point sources and non-point sources. Point sources have one identifiable cause of the pollution, such as a storm drain, wastewater treatment plant or stream. Non-point sources are more diffuse, such as agricultural runoff. Pollution is the result of the cumulative effect over time. All plants and organisms living in or being exposed to polluted water bodies can be impacted. The effects can damage individual species and impact the natural biological communities they are part of.

The causes of water pollution include a wide range of chemicals and pathogens as well as physical parameters. Contaminants may include organic and inorganic substances. Elevated temperatures can also lead to polluted water. A common cause of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant by power plants and industrial manufacturers. Elevated water temperatures decrease oxygen levels, which can kill fish and alter food chain composition, reduce species biodiversity, and foster invasion by new thermophilic species.Water pollution is measured by analysing water samples. Physical, chemical and biological tests can be done. Control of water pollution requires appropriate infrastructure and management plans. The infrastructure may include wastewater treatment plants. Sewage treatment plants and industrial wastewater treatment plants are usually required to protect water bodies from untreated wastewater. Agricultural wastewater treatment for farms, and erosion control from construction sites can also help prevent water pollution. Nature-based solutions are another approach to prevent water pollution. Effective control of urban runoff includes reducing speed and quantity of flow. In the United States, best management practices for water pollution include approaches to reduce the quantity of water and improve water quality.

Water resources management in Brazil

Water resources management is a key element of Brazil's strategy to promote sustainable growth and a more equitable and inclusive society. Brazil's achievements over the past 70 years have been closely linked to the development of hydraulic infrastructure for hydroelectric power generation and just recently to the development of irrigation infrastructure, especially in the Northeast region.

Two challenges in water resources management stand out for their enormous social impacts: (i) unreliable access to water with a strong adverse impact on the living and health standards of the rural populations in the Northeast where two million households, most in extreme poverty, live, and (ii) water pollution in and near large urban centers, which compromises poor populations' health, creates an environmental damage, and increases the cost of water treatment for downstream users.

Waterkeeper Alliance

Waterkeeper Alliance is an environmental organization founded in 1999, in response to a growing movement of organizations with the name Riverkeeper, Baykeeper, Soundkeeper, and other related "keeper" names, of which there are now more than 300 organizations and affiliates around the world. The original Riverkeeper, organized in 1983, started on the Hudson River in New York, in response to the destructive industrial pollution that was destroying the river.

It soon was followed by Long Island Soundkeeper (led by Terry Backer), Delaware Riverkeeper, San Francisco Baykeeper, New York/New Jersey Baykeeper, and others. Now, Hudson Riverkeeper is headed by Paul Gallay, the chief executive since July, 2010.Today, Waterkeeper Alliance, which is based out of Manhattan, unites all Waterkeeper organizations, coordinating and covering issues affecting Waterkeepers that work to protect rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and other water bodies around the world. It is the fastest growing grassroots environmental movement in the world, spanning six continents. Each Waterkeeper organization is devoted to the preservation of specific watersheds.

There are more than 300 Waterkeeper Organizations (Basinkeeper, Baykeeper, Bayoukeeper, Canalkeeper, Channelkeeper, Coastkeeper, Creekkeeper, Deltakeeper, Gulfkeeper, Inletkeeper, Lakekeeper, Riverkeeper, Shorekeeper, Soundkeeper, Waterkeeper) and affiliates on six continents in 35 countries defending communities against anyone who threatens their right to clean water—from polluters to unresponsive government agencies.

Waterkeeper Alliance advocacy campaigns unite the work of Waterkeeper organizations around the globe to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels, eliminate the impacts of factory farms on waterways, protect and restore watersheds, and help create and enforce environmental laws by publicizing violations and violators.


Wildcoast (stylized WiLDCOAST) is an international non-profit environmental organization that conserve coastal and marine ecosystem and wildlife.

Headquartered in Imperial Beach, California, in 2007 Wildcoast established a Mexican division, Costasalvaje A.C. in Tijuana to manage its conservation programs in Latin America.

Charity Navigator awarded Wildcoast its four-star charity ranking. The organization received the Excellence in Organizational Development Award from Nonprofit Management Solutions in 2006. It also received the San Diego Earthworks E.A.R.T.H. Award in 2007. In 2008, Wildcoast received the Green Wave Award from the Surfer's Path Magazine.

On Earth
Air pollution
Water pollution
Soil contamination
Radioactive contamination
Other types of pollution
Pollution response
Inter-government treaties
Major organizations

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