New Funding for Delaware River Watershed Initiative

New $40 million grants to the Delaware River Watershed Initiative will support local organizations as they work together to secure clean, abundant water in the Delaware River watershed.

Delaware River, PA & NJ. | Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli

You can learn more about this collaborative project at

The William Penn Foundation recently announced more than $40 million in new funding for the Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI), which is among the country’s largest non-regulatory conservation efforts to protect and restore clean water. The DRWI is a first-of-its-kind collaboration, where American Rivers is one of 65 organizations working together to protect and restore the Delaware River and its tributaries, which provide drinking water for 15 million people in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.

The DRWI is tackling widespread pollution problems that threaten clean drinking water and the health of rivers and streams. This includes erosion and runoff from deforested acres in headwaters, polluted runoff from agricultural fields, flooding and polluted stormwater from cities and suburbs, and a depleted aquifer in southern New Jersey.

In 2014, the DRWI launched a new approach, joining local and regional groups to accelerate conservation efforts. Today, the DRWI stands out as a basin-scale program driven by non-profits like American Rivers, guided by science. In just over three years, DRWI partners have;

  • Protected 19,604 acres,
  • Restored 8,331 acres, and
  • Monitored and sampled water quality at more than 500 sites across four states.

With learnings gleaned from the past four years, this additional $40 million dollar, three-year investment builds on DRWI’s initial successes to protect and restore an estimated 43,484 additional acres, and it allows DRWI to continue its scientific approach to securing clean, abundant water in the basin.

American Rivers has been very involved in the campaigns to protect and restore the Delaware River system that supplies water to 15 million people, many of whom live in Pennsylvania. As a member of the DRWI, we have led the push to advance green stormwater infrastructure and assess scientific and economic findings to create a plan to improve upstream/downstream connected buffer protections within the Basin in Pennsylvania. American Rivers has also been a part of the national Clean Water for All Coalition and supported the comprehensive development and successful launch of the campaign in the mid-Atlantic.

We are excited to see how this will continue to flourish to the benefit of all Pennsylvania residents, and all residents in the Delaware River Watershed.

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