Clean Water Accountability Project

Clean Water Accountability Project

In response to a concerted effort by the federal administration to roll back clean water laws and programs, California Coastkeeper Alliance (CCKA) has launched a campaign to strengthen the State and Regional Water Boards tasked with managing California’s most precious resource.

The State and Regional Water Boards make decisions about the water our economy, health, and way of life depend on. But outdated governance and policy frameworks, relatively weak political support, and a lack of resources are preventing the Water Boards from fulfilling their mission “to preserve, enhance, and restore the quality of California’s water resources and drinking water…”  At the same time, polluting industries are actively working to weaken and undermine the enforcement of rules that protect public health. As a result, despite having strong laws on the books, California has a serious and growing pollution problem.

Lax enforcement of water quality permits and policies disproportionately impacts underserved communities. Trash, toxic runoff, and heavy metals prevent people from using local rivers, creeks, and bays and cause serious health impacts to children and families who swim or fish. With the Trump Administration actively working to stop federal enforcement of clean water laws, we must improve the function of our Water Boards to ensure that every Californian has access to safe, clean water.

CCKA has invited a Blue Ribbon Panel of respected state leaders to work with local Waterkeepers to recommend reforms that will increase Water Board transparency, function, and enforcement to achieve swimmable, fishable, and drinkable waters for all. This a multi-year campaign, with work underway to:

  • Improve the enforceability of Water Boards’ permits and policies to ensure our water quality laws are properly implemented and that all polluters are held accountable;
  • Evaluate State and Regional enforcement of water quality laws through a report card to compare budgets, metrics, and strategies across regions;
  • Ensure that qualified individuals who represent their communities are appointed to enhance the expertise and diversity of Regional Water Boards; and
  • Increase public awareness of and engagement with the Water Boards to ensure policies and practices serve the public interest.
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Blue Ribbon Panel Members

David Nahai (Chair) – former LA Regional Water Board Chair
Richard Frank – Director of the California Environmental Law and Policy Center at UC Davis School of Law
Steve Frisch – President and Co-founder of the Sierra Business Council
Marco Gonzalez – Co-founder and Managing Partner of Coast Law Group LLP
Ron Loveridge – longtime Mayor of Riverside and former Board Member at SCAQMD and CARB
Miguel Luna – Founder of Urban Semillas and Principal at DakeLuna Consultants
Terry O’Day – Santa Monica City Councilmember and former Executive Director of Environment Now
Fran Pavley – 16-year State Legislator for southern California and former California Coastal Commissioner
Chris Shutes – FERC Projects Director for the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
Virginia Strom-Martin – former three-term State Assembly Member for northeastern California
Buzz Thompson – Founding Director of Stanford Law School Environmental and Natural Resources Program
Marc Van Den Berg – Partner at DBL Partners, a leading player in the field of impact investing
Bob Wilkinson – Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Water Policy at University of California Santa Barbara
Lois Wolk – former three-term State Senator for the Delta and North Bay
Don McEnhill (Waterkeeper rep.) – Executive Director of Russian Riverkeeper
Garry Brown (Waterkeeper rep.) – CEO of Orange County Coastkeeper and Inland Empire Waterkeeper


Recent News

2020 in Review: Progress in a Challenging Year

Holding California Accountable to Protect and Restore the Quality of our Waterways for Every Californian

Deterring Pollution is Critical in Achieving Drinkable, Swimmable and Fishable Waterways