Clean Water:

Delaware’s Clear Choice campaign is a statewide education and outreach effort.

The goal is to secure additional state funding to improve Delaware’s waterways and drinking water sources.

Now more than ever clean water is essential to everyone. Contaminated water doesn’t just affect fish and wildlife living in our local waters, it impacts our everyday lives through the food we eat, the streams, rivers, lakes, and bays near our homes, our health, and our economy.

90% of Delaware’s waterways are polluted, 100 miles of Delaware’s waters have fish consumption advisories, and Delaware faces an annual deficit of $100 million to address our water quality needs, according to the Clean Water and Flood Abatement Task Force.

Clean Water and Flood Abatement Task Force

Senate Concurrent Resolution 30 was passed creating the Clean Water and Flood Abatement Task Force in 2015 chaired by Senator Brian Townsend and Representative Michael Mulrooney (now retired). Two years later, their findings and recommendations were published, highlighting the funding mechanisms the Task Force explored and proposing the mechanism that became the first Clean Water for Delaware Act, House Bill 270.

Though HB 270 did not pass, there were still great clean water achievements to celebrate that year! In the Fiscal Year 2019 State Budget (July 1, 2018- June 30, 2019), $10 million was dedicated for clean water along with full funding for the Open Space and Farmland Preservation Programs. That’s $30 million for clean water and conservation!

Clean Water Funding Increases in State FY 2020

The Fiscal Year 2020 budget increased its investments in clean water up to $20 million and fully funded Open Space and Farmland Preservation at $10 million each, showing the General Assembly’s strengthened commitment to clean water.

Related Links:

Carney, Longhurst, McBride announce major investments in clean water

Delaware officials propose 50 million new clean water fund

Delaware’s exposure to ‘forever’ chemicals: Where PFAS have been found, what officials are doing 

Delaware’s drinking water: Where does it come from and is it safe?

State Fiscal Year 2021 and Beyond

We remain dedicated to passing a permanent clean water funding mechanism.  The most recent proposal, House Substitute 1 for House Bill 200, was introduced in 2020 by Representative Valerie Longhurst and Senator David McBride along with a proposed $50 million clean water investment in Governor Carney’s Bond Bill proposal. Both proposals stalled due to the pandemic, a shortened legislative session and a significant state financial challenges.

The Clean Water Alliance supported HS1 to HB200 because it provided a mechanism for additional funding for improvements to wastewater systems, flood reduction initiatives, innovative toxic removal technologies, and investments in drinking water quality. The bill did not progress past the House Natural Resources Committee but is expected to be re-introduced as soon as the General Assembly returns to session in early 2021.

Despite pandemic related closures and a large state revenue loss the Alliance was still able to secure $13M for clean water in FY2021. While this is lower than the funding secured last year ($20M) it is still a slight increase over FY2019 ($10M).

We expect additional changes to legislative priorities and funding due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so your help is more important than ever! Funding for clean water is essential to ensure that we have clean drinking water, and for our public health, jobs, and the economy.

Our clean water community and Campaign is driven by the Clean Water Alliance (a coalition of diverse stakeholder groups including non-profit organizations, academia, and businesses) and our Water Warriors (citizen advocates) that care about water quality for current and future generations

Meet The Team

Steering Committee

Delaware Center for the Island Bays

Delaware Center for the
Inland Bays

The Center for the Inland Bays is a private non-profit organization established in 1994 by the State of Delaware General Assembly to oversee and facilitate the implementation of a long-term approach for the wise use and enhancement of the Inland Bays’ Watershed. The Center is also 1 of 28 National Estuary Programs established by the federal Clean Water Act to improve the environmental health of estuaries of national significance. It’s mission is to “preserve, protect, and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays and their watershed” which is achieved through education, outreach, science & research, restoration, and public policy. 

Delaware Nature Society (DelNature)

Delaware Nature Society’s (DelNature) mission is to connect people with the natural world and improve our environment through education, advocacy, and conservation. Founded in 1964, DelNature is a state affiliate for the National Wildlife FederationWe provide the tools for communities to take action and promote the health of the environment through land preservation, wildlife protection, watershed stewardship, and more. We manage over 2,000 acres of land and operate four educational sites: Ashland Nature CenterAbbott’s Mill Nature CenterDuPont Environmental Education Center, and Coverdale Farm Preserve.

University of Delaware
Water Resources Center

The University of Delaware Water Resources Center (DWRC), established in 1965, is one of the 54 National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWRs). DWRC has a two-fold mission:

To support research, education, & public outreach programs that focus on water supply, water management, & water quality –important issues to Delaware citizens who are concerned about the future of our water resources.

To foster & support training and education programs for the future water scientists, engineers, managers, & policy-makers who will lead the water resources research, planning, & management efforts in our state in the future.

Our Staff


Director of Advocacy and External Affairs

Emily Knearl graduated from the University of Delaware with her Master’s in Public Administration in 1996.  She has worked in the government and nonprofit sectors for 25 years, including the last decade in public health. She is experienced in community organizing and education, advocacy, marketing, and media relations. She loves guacamole, hiking and reading a good book.


Environmental Advocate

Ellie has been a part of the Campaign since Fall 2018. As an Environmental Advocate, Ellie works to pass local ordinances and resolutions to help protect or improve water quality. Ellie is a 2017 graduate of Franklin & Marshall College with a major in Animal Behavior and a minor in Environmental Studies. She is local to the Brandywine Valley region and is passionate about improving local land use to address the threat of climate change and habitat fragmentation on biodiversity. Fun fact about Ellie: She’s an avid reader who embarks on a 52-book challenge each year.

Join Us

Clean Water Alliance

Clean water is not a privilege; it is a right. The Delaware Clean Water Alliance is a broad coalition of organizations and stakeholders across the state working together to secure funding for clean water initiatives.

We have launched a campaign to improve the quality of Delaware’s water by educating people about the importance of clean water and advocating for better policies on the local, state, and federal levels. Dedicated funding for clean water is essential for a cleaner environment, healthier crops and food sources, an improved economy, and increased tourism. Additional clean water funding could be used for upgrades to wastewater treatment facilities and stormwater systems; environmentally sound solutions to remove contaminants from our water; and protection of wetlands and open space. Increased funding for statewide clean water initiatives ensures a better, stronger Delaware. Clean water is truly Delaware’s clear choice – together we can make a difference.

Join the

Clean Water Alliance

Alliance Members

join us

Water Warriors

Your voice matters. The Clean Water Campaign is always looking for more Water Warriors – the advocates, volunteers, and supporters of our work. Whether you are new to water issues and advocacy or have years of experience, we’d love to have you join us!
We are ready and willing to help everyone start out on their advocacy journey. Want to learn more? Email us at and join our e-newsletter list for important alerts and where to take action.
"I volunteer as a Water Warrior through the Delaware Nature Society. I feel like it is a great opportunity to have my voice heard about water quality issues that affect my world now and the world we pass on to our children. I volunteer as a Water Warrior through the Delaware Nature Society. It is a great opportunity to have my voice heard about water quality issues that affect my world now and the world we pass on to our children. The expertise that the Campaign lends to the issues of the day increases my awareness of how I can make a difference.”
Matt B.
Delaware Resident