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Urban Waters

Urban Waters


Why Urban Waters?

An overview of urban waters issues and how they impact you. Read more

The Learning Network: A Resource for Grantees

The U.S. EPA has partnered up with two organizations, Groundwork USA and River Network, to establish the Urban Waters Learning Network to create and promote networking, provide technical assistance and learning opportunities to over 350 organizations all over the country.

Feds forging partnerships for Urban Waters: The Urban Waters Federal Partnership

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership aims to stimulate regional and local economies, create local jobs, improve quality of life, and protect Americans' health by revitalizing urban waterways in under-served communities across the country.

Urban Waters Fact Sheets

Grab-and-go flyers about Urban Waters to help you get to know our program components! Read more

Several hands holding on to a circle made of water.

About the Urban Waters Movement

How EPA is working to connect community groups and programs that can help their urban water renewal efforts. Get started

Follow Urban Waters efforts and spread the word through social media!

  • See what other communities are doing Urban Waters Voices videos
  • Keep up with the Urban Waters Movement on EPA's blog.
  • Get the buzz about the next generation of water protection in the Mid-Atlantic region on the Healthy Waters blog.
  • Check out the discussion about protecting and restoring urban waters on Twitter.
Crowd of people jumping on beach at sunset

How You Can Help

Tips and methods for water conservation, avoiding pipe/sewer damage and keeping pollutants out of your water supply. Read more

What Communities Are Doing...

Click on the map to get information about existing Urban Waters projects.

map of urban waters projectsRegion8Region7Region 4Region 2Region 2Region 3Region 1Region 5Region 6Region 9Region 10

Mystic River, Boston, MA

Once an abundant fishery and a place of natural beauty that was memorialized in the poem “Over the River and Through the Woods,” the Mystic River Watershed faces significant pollution problems from years of industrial use, pollution and neglect. Now efforts are underway to restore the heavily traveled and industrialized “big river” -- the literal translation of its Wampanoag name "muhs-uhtuq" -- to its heritage as a community focal point. Read more

Caño Martín Peña, San Juan, Puerto Rico

The impaired Martín Peña Channel (MPC) represents one of Puerto Rico’s most important comprehensive development initiatives. By coordinating dredging and infrastructure projects with neighborhood housing rehabilitation and household relocation efforts, the community is healing environmental damage, revitalizing neighborhoods, and raising awareness about the MPC’s issues at the same time. Read more

Anacostia River, Washington, D.C./Maryland

The Anacostia River tributaries, flowing through Washington D.C. and Montgomery and Prince George Counties in Maryland, have been plagued with large quantities of polluted runoff, resulting in flooding, infrastructure damage, and public health risks. EPA and their watershed partners are working together reduce pollution and implement watershed restoration projects. Read more

Turkey Creek Greenway Project, Gulfport, Mississippi

In recent decades, many forms of outside pollution have fouled the area around the Turkey Creek Watershed in what is now EPA’s Region 4, including acidification, fecal coliform and dioxin contamination from a variety of sources. But recently, a coalition of federal, state, and local groups -- led by descendants of the founders of the original community -- have been working to restore the historic watershed. Read more

Green Infrastructure in Urban Neighborhoods

Communities in EPA’s Region 5 are collaborating with local partners to plan waterway redevelopment projects combining water program tools and activities with Environmental Justice initiatives and the Brownfields program. Projects range from creating stormwater-absorbing parks in Milwaukee to developing a new urban drainage corridor in Cincinnati with publicly-accessible green spaces and trail systems. Read more

Albuquerque Metropolitan Area, New Mexico

The Greater Albuquerque area’s primary drinking water supply is high in arsenic, impacting more than 800,000 residents. To make matters worse, the Middle Rio Grande segment is impaired by bacteria, impacting tribes located north and south of the city. To combat these problems, the city of Albuquerque is switching to surface water for drinking water needs and working with EPA and local organizations engaged in cleaning and restoring the area’s urban waters. Read more

Blue River Watershed/Brush Creek, Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri

In Kansas City, EPA has collaborated with several community groups since 2006 to work on Brush Creek, the most visible and the most urbanized tributary to the Blue River. Together, they worked on large scale Blue River watershed planning, the development of a community water quality monitoring network, and green infrastructure projects. Their ongoing educational endeavors on water quality have produced a central monitoring Web site,, and green infrastructure demonstration projects keyed towards wet-weather pollution control. Read more

South Platte River, Denver, Colorado

The South Platte River — an important Denver recreational venue for families from the inner City, as well as kayakers, rafters, and fishermen is plagued by many issues. The Greenway Foundation and the City and County of Denver, along with other partners, have created new parks and recreational opportunities along the river, many on formerly industrial sites. Read more

Santa Cruz Watershed, Tucson, Arizona

Most of the population in the Santa Cruz Watershed is found in Tucson, the second largest city in Arizona, where about 45 percent of water is used for landscaping. To promote long-lasting water conservation, Tucson passed the nation’s first Rainwater Harvesting and Gray Water Ordinances in 2010. This rule mandated the installation of water reuse systems in new buildings and was passed with extensive community support. Read more

Columbia River Basin, Washington

In the Columbia River Basin, EPA’s Region 10 created the Columbia River Toxics Reduction Strategy to reduce toxic contamination in fish and increase public understanding about toxins in the fish and water of the Columbia River. Planning is underway to increase public commitment to watershed restoration projects among tribal and farm worker communities. These restorations will reduce toxic contamination and protect human health in the Basin. Read more

Urban Waters Cycle

Urban Waters work supports a positive cycle that begins with connection to water, which builds community engagement, leading to water quality improvement and revitalization. Learn more.

Image text of the urban waters cycle: Improve water quality. Connect communities to waterways. Revitalize communities. Engage people in restoration.