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!
COVID-19 Impacts on Clean Water Funding
January 2020 was witness to exciting promises for clean water funding and legislation. House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and Senator David McBride were championing House Substitute 1 for House Bill 200, The Clean Water for Delaware Act, and Governor Carney had announced a $50 million clean water investment in his Bond Bill proposal. Unfortunately, both proposals stalled due to the pandemic, a shortened legislative session, and significant state financial challenges.
Despite closures and a large state revenue loss, the Clean Water Alliance was still able to secure $13 million for clean water in FY2021, along with a total of $10 million for open space and farmland preservation.
- A ‘game-changer’ | DelNature celebrates Carney’s renewed efforts to fund Clean Water Trust
- 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?
Clean Water for Delaware Act: Back in 2021
Clean Water Work Beyond HB200
Dedicated, sustainable clean water funding is the mission of the Clean Water Campaign, but we also work on any legislation that might have an impact on water quality and/or quantity. Forest conservation, open space preservation, septic system bans, buffer ordinances, and wetland protections are just a few of the topics we’ve been involved in over the years.
Governor Carney’s $50M investment in clean water will be a great starting point, but the fight for clean water is far from over. We’ll continue advocating for smart environmental policies and regulations so that all Delawareans have rivers and streams they can live near, play in, and eat from.
Meet The Team
Delaware Center for the
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 Federation. We 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 Center, Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, DuPont Environmental Education Center, and Coverdale Farm Preserve.
University of Delaware
Water Resources Center
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.
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.
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.
Clean Water Advocate - Communications
Sean Dwyer joined the Clean Water Campaign in October of 2020. Prior to joining the campaign, Sean worked in various positions in Delaware politics and government with a focus on grassroots organizing and strategic communications. As Communications Associate, Sean’s primary task is to continue developing the campaign’s messaging and narrative around the urgent need for Clean Water. Sean lives in the City of Wilmington and is an avid hiker, kayaker, and lover of our natural world.
Marissa is new to the team this fall 2020. She is currently an undergraduate student (Class of 2022) at the University of Delaware majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Environmental Humanities and a passion for Environmental Justice. She loves nature and can probably be found obsessing over turtles and frogs!
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.
Clean Water Alliance
- Action Together
- Bill’s Sport Shop
- Birdsong Gardens
- Brandywine Garden Club
- Brandywine Red Clay Alliance
- Citizens’ Climate
- Lobby- Lower Delaware
- Corrado Management Services
- Clean Air Council
- Delaware Brewers Guild
- Delaware Center for Horticulture
- Delaware Electric Vehicle Association
- Delaware Interfaith Power and Light
- Delmarva Ornithological Society
- Delaware Botanic Gardens
- Delaware Riverkeeper Network
- Delaware Section of the American Water Resources Association
- Delaware Sierra Club
- Delaware Surf Fishing
- Delaware United
- Delaware Votes for Animals (DVFA)
- Delaware Zoological Society
- Duffield Associates
- Environmental Justice Initiative
- Friend of the Bohemia, Inc.
- George & Sons’ Seafood Market
- GreenWatch Institute
- Hoe N Hope Garden Club
- Hyatt Place Dewey Beach
& Lighthouse Cove Event Center
- Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
- League of Women Voters of Delaware
- Lewes Cycle Sports
- Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers and Outdoors Program
- Middletown-Odessa Garden Club
- National Wildlife Federation
- Newport Rowing Club
- Old Inlet Bait and Tackle
- Painted Stave Distilling
- Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
- Pennoni Associates
- RBC Trust (Delaware)
- Red Clay Scenic Byway Alliance
- Rideshare Delaware
- Socially Responsible Agriculture Project
- SoDel Concepts
- Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Delaware
- South Wilmington Planning Network
- Sussex Health and Environmental Network (SHEN)
- Tidewater Utilities
- Trolley Square Oyster House
- University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, New Castle Co. Master Gardeners
- University of Delaware Engineers Without Borders
- University of Delaware Men’s Crew Team
- University of Delaware Student Chapter of DE AWRA
- University of Delaware Students for the Environment
- Westminster Presbyterian Church
- White Clay Wild and Scenic
- Wild Birds Unlimited- Hockessin, DE
- Wilmington Rowing Center
- Wilmington Youth Rowing Association