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Water: Access, Supply, and Sustainability: Government Resources

Supplement to the 3-part virtual forum, Oct. 27-29, 2020

Federal Laws and Regulations

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 33 - Navigation and Navigable Waters.

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) annual edition is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register (FR) by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government. All titles are updated annually; Title 33 is revised as of July 1.The electronic version eCFR is updated daily.

Clean Water Act (2018 version) 

The purpose of the Clean Water Act (CWA) is to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution in the nation's water in order to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters".  Originally called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (1948), the Act was expanded in 1972, when it acquired its current name. 

Safe Drinking Water Act (1974)

The Act (updated in 1996), was issued "to assure that the public is provided with safe drinking water, and for other purposes."  The Environmental Protection Agency mandates activities that protect drinking water and its sources (rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, ground water wells).  The EPA also establishes national regulations for contaminant levels that may cause adverse public health effects.  

Federal Reserved Water Rights and State Law Claims (U.S. Department of Justice) 

Reserved water rights allows the federal government to retain sufficient water to carry out the purposes of federal land reservations. This includes military bases, forests, monuments and Native American reservations. Although first articulated by the Supreme Court in 1908, these rights have been and are seen as a threat to established rights holders. 

Related information on other federal water regulations

State Laws and Regulations



State Regulations' Resource Locator

Miscellaneous Resources

The United States Geological Survey (USGS):

National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) Water and Wastewater Sector-Specific Plan for 2015. (DHS)

  • The 2015 Water and Wastewater Sector-Specific Plan addresses risk-based critical infrastructure protection strategies for drinking water and wastewater utilities, regulatory primacy agencies, and an array of technical assistance partners.

 Rand Corporation Reports: