Celebrating 50 Years of Clean Water Action

Clean Water Action's 50th birthday graphic_Emily Scott Designs

Join us in celebrating Clean Water Action's 50th Birthday!

50 years ago, our founder David Zwick helped write and pass the Clean Water Act which recognizes that access to clean, safe water is a critical human right. That same year, Clean Water Action was founded. Join us in celebrating 50 years of #PeopleActionJustice!

The Clean Water Act ended the culture of dumping raw sewage and untreated industrial waste into our waters and led to a dramatic improvement in the health and safety of waterways across the country. 2022 marks a monument year in which we can celebrate the power and promise of this revolutionary law to protect communities around the country and in our region and demand equal justice and access to clean water. We have a lot of work to do to ensure our goal of swimmable, fishable, and drinkable water for all. Make a gift today to power our campaigns now and for the next 50 years. Your support is essential to helping Clean Water Action protect our water and health, tackle the climate crisis, and make our democracy work.



Image: A Clean Water Action Rally in the 80s side by side with a Clean Water Action Rally in the 2010s

A Lot Happens in 50 Years

You’ve probably seen the photos or heard the stories about rivers that caught on fire, smog that was thick enough to choke on, “dead” lakes like Lake Erie, and polluters able to do whatever they wanted to with no accountability. It all seemed so “normal”. And it was, until some people decided to speak up and do something. One of those people was our founder, David Zwick. In the late 60s David took an assignment from Ralph Nader to investigate the state of the nation’s water. What he found shocked him and turned into a book – Water Wasteland.

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Clean Water 50 Stories

In honor of Clean Water Action's 50th birthday, we’re sharing our history and journey with the people who have joined us along the way as we worked to protect clean water through #CleanWater50Stories. Our story is the story of everyday people who have used their power to make a difference to create a healthier and greener future for all. Share your story and read more below.

Share Your Story

Read & Watch Stories






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Clean Water Action Alumni Network

If you are one of our thousands of alumni across the country, we invite you to join our Clean Water Action Alumni Network to stay connected with other Clean Water Alumni, join us for virtual events, and share your memories ahead of our 50th Anniversary in 2022!

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Cheers to 50 Years! Clean Water 50th Anniversary Events

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Join us in celebrating 50 years of Clean Water Action history and victories at events across the country. 

OCT 1 - NEW JERSEY: Autumn Toast to a Healthy Environment - Cheers to 50 Years fundraising and charity auction event is happening Saturday, October 1st, 2022 from 1-4 pm at Feldman Middletown Jr. Community Center at Weequahic Park, Newark, NJ. The event includes music by Sandy Sasso Jazz Quartet, Chance & Silent Auctions, Wine, Beer & Savory Hors D'oeuvres, and ​Playground & Activities for Kids. RSVP here

OCT 6 - MASSACHUSETTSClean Water Action's 50th Anniversary Annual Fall Celebration in Massachusetts is happening virtually on Thursday, October 6, 2022 at 5:30 pm. Join us in celebrating 50 years of Clean Water Action history and victories, while supporting our work with communities across Massachusetts to create safe and healthy environments for today and for the future. RSVP here.

OCT 19 - NATIONAL: Clean Water Action's 50th Birthday Celebration is happening virtually on October 19th at 7 PM ET. RSVP here.

Past events:

JULY 20 - CONNECTICUT: Cheer to 50 Years! Clean Water Action's 50th Birthday Bash & Summer Fundraiser is happening virtually Wednesday, July 20th at 6:00 PM. Join us to celebrate Clean Water Action’s 50th anniversary, the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and some big wins in Connecticut. Read about the event here.

SEP 14 - MICHIGAN: Join us for the 2022 Great Lakes Award Ceremony: Cheers to 50 Years! Celebrating 50 years of Clean Water Action history and victories at our annual Great Lakes Awards Celebration. The event will feature live music, food and drinks and an awards ceremony. RSVP here.

SEP 15 - PENNSYLVANIA: Join us in celebrating Clean Water Action's 50th in Pittsburgh! Clean Action & Clean Water Fund’s Pittsburgh Office is hosting its 13th Annual Fall Fundraiser and Dewey Award. RSVP here.