Upstream, Downriver

Film & Symposium to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act

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Center for Environmental Policy 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States

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American University’s Center for Environmental Policy and Center for Environmental Filmmaking convened a Clean Water Act Symposium on September 29, 2022 at American University and produced a film entitled Upstream, Downriver which tells the story of the Clean Water Act, its value to the nation, and the water equity challenges ahead.


Upstream, Downriver premiered at the symposium, along with panel discussions with national experts on water quality, public health, and environmental justice. Featured speakers included policymakers who work to maintain the protections of the Clean Water Act in the face of current environmental and legal threats, state leaders as well as grassroots leaders and students engaged in agriculture, emerging water quality threats and climate impacts. 



Upstream, Downriver Trailer

The 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act of 1972 offers an occasion to recognize its accomplishments, 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.

Sponsors of the symposium


This event was generously funded with an award from SPA’s Helfat Faculty Development Fund.