Water Equity Clearinghouse

EPA Urban Waters Program


The EPA Urban Waters Program is a national effort to protect and revitalize water systems and waterways in cities. Urban areas face significant environmental stress—with so many people concentrated in cities sharing the same space and water, urban waters can easily become polluted by industrial discharges, transportation, residential and commercial wastewater, trash, and polluted stormwater runoff. As urban populations often share centralized water sources, this pollution creates environmental and public health hazards. Additionally, the nature of urban landscapes can make access to waterways difficult or impossible for some.

However, if well-managed, urban waters can improve environmental and public health, provide communities with enjoyable outdoor spaces, and encourage job creation and small business growth. Cities across the county are facing a myriad of environmental challenges, which can only be solved with a range of diverse approaches. By working with stakeholders at all levels of government as well as community partners, the EPA Urban Waters Program strives to increase dialogue and understanding around urban waterways. A key component to the program is building community capacity by encouraging local participation in restoring and protecting their water. Through these different levels of collaboration, the program aims to improve water quality and communicate successes, best practices, and benefits of protecting urban waters.

Efforts to Advance Water Equity

EPA’s Urban Waters Program is working in different cities across the United States—click here to see what communities are doing to protect their urban waters.