Skip to content
Group 2 Delaware River Watershed Initiative


The Power of Collaboration for Clean Water

William Penn Foundation has been thinking hard on the long game for the Delaware River and the 15 million people who depend on it, and Watershed Program Director Andy Johnson distilled many of those learnings in a blog for the Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities last month. Andy highlighted the foundation’s work to both reckon with, and address, the “death by a thousand cuts” that the Delaware Basin faces.

The communities of the basin depend so deeply on the Delaware for drinking water, industry, and paddling, hiking and time in nature. The river and its tributaries are truly the lifeblood of the mid-Atlantic. So how do the many conservation, recreation and outdoor education communities work together to keep it clean where it’s clean, and clean it up where it’s not?

The answer, counter-intuitively, lies in land use decisions, and in many of the small municipalities that surround the river. From green stormwater approaches to saving family farms and ensuring that new development is water-smart, the foundation is investing deeply in local organizations with a shared vision and a commitment to scientific monitoring. The blog is a great read for those thinking through how a regional funder can catalyze change in a complex, multi-jurisdiction environment.

You can read Andy’s blog online here.