partnerships

Explore Philly’s Water + Parks Love Story During 'Love Your Park Week'

Adam Levine talks about the history of Upper Roxborough Reservoir and how it became an urban park after serving residents for nearly a century. Credit: PWD
Adam Levine talks about the history of Upper Roxborough Reservoir and how it became an urban park after serving residents for nearly a century during a 2017 Love Your Park event. Credit: PWD

In Philadelphia, parks and water have a love story that is as long as it is rich.

The founders of our beloved Fairmount Park knew that preserving green, natural spaces is a great way to protect water quality in our rivers and creeks. 

Today, we are adding a new layer to that appreciation with Green City, Clean Waters - a program that adds more green to our communities as a way of soaking up stormwater runoff to help our sewer system run more efficiently and reduce overflows that can pollute waterways.

As we have in past years, Philadelphia Water Department staff are joining fellow park advocates for the spring edition of Love Your Park Week events across the city. Spanning May 12-20, Love Your Park is a biannual event that cleans, greens, and celebrates Philly’s parks. A “collaborative partnership among Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and the Park Friends Network,” the week is packed with cool ways to learn more about the green spaces that make our city great while giving back.   

Events with PWD

Green Infrastructure Tours Showcase Philadelphia Innovation

Visitors from China inspect Philadelphia green stormwater infrastructure sites during a Dec. 14 tour hosted by the Philadelphia Water Dept.
Visitors from China inspect Philadelphia green stormwater infrastructure sites during a Dec. 14 tour hosted by the Philadelphia Water Dept. 

Did you know Philadelphia has an international reputation as a city where green design and innovation are thriving?

Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Water Department led a group of business leaders and engineers from Beijing, China on a tour of green stormwater infrastructure sites across Philadelphia. The group of experts came to Philadelphia because our 25-year Green City, Clean Waters plan is recognized as one of the most ambitious and forward-thinking green infrastructure programs in the United States and internationally.

Giving Tuesday: Support Watershed Stewardship in Philly!


These Philly kids are learning to be Delaware River stewards through the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory RiverGuides program. Credit: Alan Brian Nilsen/ABN photography

We believe that people who have an intimate connection to their local watershed are more likely to get involved in efforts to guard and improve that watershed.

Spend a day canoeing on the Schuylkill River, fishing for striped bass on the Delaware, seeding freshwater mussels on the Tacony Creek or birding along the Wissahickon, and you’ll come away with a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to protecting these invaluable resources.

Across the city and region, there are dedicated organizations and institutions working to build those connections through increased recreational access to our riverfronts, through environmental education that underscores the vital role healthy watersheds play in vibrant ecosystems, through scientific research, and more.

With “Giving Tuesday” upon us, today is a great day to support those protecting and improving Philadelphia’s waterways.
If you recognize the value of our watersheds, consider supporting those who share your appreciation on Giving Tuesday and help further their efforts.

Below are a few partners that rely on contributions to keep up the good work of watershed stewardship.
What group or organization works to protect and support a local waterway you care about? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook!

Schuylkill River Restoration Fund: Eight New Investments in River’s Health Announced

David Rice tells members of the Philadelphia Water Dept. that, without grant support, his farm wouldn’t have built special buildings, manure pits and surfaces that keep agricultural runoff out of a nearby Schuylkill River tributary.
David Rice tells members of the Philadelphia Water Dept. that, without grant support, his farm wouldn’t have built special buildings, manure pits and surfaces that keep agricultural runoff out of a nearby Schuylkill River tributary.

The Philadelphia Water Department works hard to protect the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers here in Philly, but an essential fact about water is that it’s a shared resource. Our watersheds don’t just provide drinking water for the 1.5 million people in Philadelphia—many millions more depend on these same waters at their kitchen taps, for agriculture, tourism and recreation, and more.

And what happens in the watersheds above Philadelphia matters for the huge number of people living downstream.

For perspective, consider that less than two percent of the watershed providing our source water falls within Philadelphia. When you look at our rivers that way, it becomes clear why a strong partnership approach is such a critical part of the effort to ensure top-quality drinking water.

That’s why we work with organizations like the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, which advocates for the health of one of our main drinking water sources and manages important programs like the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund (SRRF).

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, PWD joined fellow partners in announcing nearly $279,000 in SRRF grants that will help protect the Schuylkill through eight investments in places ranging from the rural headwaters to the North Light Community Center in urban Manayunk. (Full list of SRRF contributors here).

EPA Briefing: A Chance to Connect it all Together

Image: CDC

Members from the Community Design Collaborative (CDC), Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gathered together on January 21st to share their expertise around plans for the implementation of green stormwater infrastructure in Philadelphia and other cities across the country.

Amongst the variety of interesting conversations, one question that was raised – how do we get citizens involved? Bob Perciasepe, the U.S. EPA Deputy Administrator, had some thoughts on the topic. “When you look at a broader area, look at the things that will happen regardless of planning and ask, ‘what can we do differently’?” A connection to green stormwater infrastructure could be made every time anything goes in the ground, whether it’s a road repair, roof replacement or even a new faucet! Thinking through this lens gets both the public sector and private property owner on board.

Shawn Garvin, Administrator of EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, also added that, “A big selling point of green stormwater infrastructure is quality of life. There’s the water quality piece, but there’s also how neighborhoods will look. The beauty of this partnership is getting people thinking this way.”

The session wrapped up with green stormwater infrastructure questions of interest including how to push the design of the green stormwater tools neighborhood-wide and how to help people think differently about these tools as they go into the ground.

Read more about the meeting here.

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