Upstream, Downriver: Film & Symposium to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act
September 29, 2022 I American University, Constitution Hall I Washington, DC | 9 am
The year 2022 is the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act of 1972. This anniversary represents significant accomplishments in protecting public health and the environment, major successes in American domestic policy as well as significant public engagement in the environmental movement.
The anniversary offers an occasion to recognize the accomplishments of the Clean Water Act, document its benefits, and reaffirm its role as an essential element in protecting the environment and public health of Americans. Under the Clean Water Act, the US has made great progress to ensure access to clean water, however, water quality, quantity and safety remain a major concern for public health. Rural communities and communities of color, in particular, are experiencing challenges in maintaining access to clean and safe drinking water as a result of aging water infrastructure causing heavy metals, such as arsenic, to leach into drinking water sources; climate change that contributes to worsening droughts, floods, and overgrowth of water pathogens that affect water quality; and environmental contamination of water sources from industry and energy production.
Climate change creates unique threats to water quality and supply. Rising temperatures, more frequent and severe storm events, drastic changes in precipitation, and sea level rise threaten water resources, and with that, human health. Storm water runoff can contaminate water sources, leading to an increased risk of gastrointestinal illness and other waterborne diseases.
American University’s Center for Environmental Policy and Center for Environmental Filmmaking, in partnership with American Rivers and the Clean Water for All Coalition, plan to convene a major Clean Water Act Symposium on September 29, 2022, and produce a film entitled Upstream, Downriver, to be released at the Symposium, telling the story of the Clean Water Act and its value to the nation.