Waterkeeper Alliance is the international center of a network of Waterkeeper programs. The Alliance approves new Waterkeeper programs, licenses use of the Waterkeeper names, represents the individual Waterkeepers on issues of national interest, and serves as a meeting place for all the Waterkeepers to exchange information, strategy and know-how. The Alliance and its member Waterkeeper groups meet at least once a year, rotating between regions. They communicate regularly in the interim, supporting and empowering member Waterkeeper organizations to protect communities, ecosystems and water quality.
There are presently nearly 200 Waterkeeper organizations on six continents defending their communities against anyone who threatens their right to clean water — from law-breaking polluters to unresponsive government agencies. Without Waterkeepers on patrol, these enemies of the public good pose a clear danger to one of the most precious resources of every community: clean water.
The Waterkeeper Concept
Each Waterkeeper program reflects the needs of the water body and community it represents. The common thread is that for each waterbody and community there is a full-time person who serves as the Waterkeeper, the public advocate for that body of water. Waterkeepers are part investigator, scientist, lawyer, lobbyist and public relations agent.
A Waterkeeper's "clients" are all the users of the watershed for which the Waterkeeper advocates. A successful advocate has a diverse bag of tools that allows her or him as the Waterkeeper to get the job done. All Waterkeepers have some kind of boat, ranging in size from canoes to research vessels, but sometimes a pair of hip boots is more important than a boat. Sometimes a legal brief is more important than either. Each water body has its own unique set of challenges requiring its own unique strategy.
Learn how to start a new Waterkeeper program here.