Foundations of Clean Water

From the water you drink to the streams that run through your town, protecting water quality requires a holistic and cross-jurisdictional approach. This module provides an overview of the laws and agreements relevant to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. These protections form the foundation of healthy waterways across the region, which enhance education, support local economies, ensure safe drinking water and inform infrastructure planning.

Read the video transcript

In this topic you will learn

  1. What is the Chesapeake Bay Program and how did it begin?

  2. What governs watershed protection and restoration efforts?

  3. How does clean water benefit my community, and what is our role in watershed protection?



One of the goals of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement focuses on environmental literacy. This goal includes outcomes for students, schools and jurisdictions, including increasing the number of sustainable schools and the number of districts offering all students a comprehensive and systemic approach to environmental literacy.

A textbook, indicating education.

Economic Development

The tourism industry loses about $1 billion each year because of nutrient pollution and harmful algae blooms.

A dollar sign, indicating economic development.

Public Health and Safety

The 1972 Clean Water Act helps prevent pollution, assist publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities and secure fishable, swimmable and drinkable water for all.

A heart and a plus sign, indicating public health and safety.

Infrastructure Maintenance and Finance

Clean water protections require investments in water infrastructure. Significant funding is available to help offset costs for local governments.

A house, indicating infrastructure.

Case Studies You'll Find Inside

Choptank River Park

Greensboro, Maryland

Wetland Restoration Benefits Community Gathering Place

Choptank River Park was a community gathering place that became derelict due to flooding. But with the construction of a wetland that filters stormwater runoff before it enters the Choptank River, the community gained a place to gather, relax and exercise. The park now hosts soccer games, picnics, community concerts and an annual kids' fishing derby.

More than a dozen people take an early fall tour of a pervious walkway installed along a meadow at Choptank River Park in Greensboro, Maryland. (W. Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program)

Here's How You Can Help

An icon of a desktop computer screen. Understand what your jurisdiction is doing to meet your Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements.
An icon of a blue and a green hand mid-handshake, indicating collaboration. Explore collaborative partnerships to help meet TMDLs.
An icon with a blue heart on top of a green leaf, indicating environmental conservation. Support environmental protections that are essential for a healthy and resilient community.

Learn More About This Topic


Learn from Chesapeake Bay Program staff and Chesapeake watershed residents about the partnership’s efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay and the lands and rivers that feed into it.

Related Topics

How Your Watershed Works

Get to know the Chesapeake Bay: its watershed, its residents and the role of clean water in helping its communities thrive.

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An aerial view of agricultural lands and Skipton Creek as it flows into the Wye River in Talbot County, Maryland.