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Community Partnership Programs

Watershed Partnerships

Watershed partnerships enable stakeholders to participate in transforming the City's streams and parks into valuable assets. Through public outreach initiatives, watershed assessments, and watershed management plans, we communicate our visions of reconnecting the City with its waterways.

Soak It Up Adoption Program

The Soak It Up Adoption Program provides grants to civic organizations to help maintain the beauty and functionality of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. Becoming an Adoptee is just one way Philadelphia's non-profits can help improve the quality of our waterways and beautify their neighborhoods at the same time!.

City of Philadelphia Storm Drain Marking Program

Keep It Clean! Did you know that what goes into a storm drain will eventually make its way into our creeks and rivers? Help protect our city's waterways from pollution by placing storm drain markers in your neighborhood.

Stormwater Management

Homeowner's Guide to Stormwater Management

Learn how you can implement various stormwater management projects around the home.

Model Neighborhoods

PWD developed Model Neighborhoods to implement innovative green stormwater infrastructure on a demonstration basis to manage stormwater runoff. In doing so, PWD will raise awareness about these innovative solutions to mitigate stormwater runoff and the connection to larger watershed issues.

Rain Barrel Workshops

The Philadelphia Water Department is providing rain barrels to Philadelphia citizens free of charge, in order to promote the reduction of stormwater flows to our sewer system and creeks. This program empowers the public to mitigate the adverse effects of stormwater runoff and ultimately promote healthier waterways.

Stormwater BMP Recognition Program

The Office of Watersheds initiated the Stormwater BMP Recognition Program in 2006 to acknowledge innovative stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the southeastern region of Pennsylvania. We identify innovative stormwater management projects that are already completed and ready to serve as model demonstration projects. In 2009, PWD partnered with Villanova University and Temple University (Ambler Campus).
View past Stormwater Recognition Award Winners.

Green City, Clean Waters Advisory Committee

The Green City, Clean Waters Advisory Committee provided oversight and guidance to PWD throughout the development of the City’s Combined Sewer Overflow Long Term Control Plan Update (LTCPU). As the LTCPU is implemented, PWD continues to convene the Advisory Committee to inform them of and seek their advice on current and emerging programs.

Basement Back-up Protection Program

The Water Department considers addressing basement flooding a high priority. This complex problem requires considerable time and resources to manage, and the Water Department continuously investigates, evaluates, analyzes, and seeks solutions to these problems.

Drinking Water Protection

Schuylkill Action Network

As a member of the Schuylkill Action Network, we partner with organizations, businesses and governments to help each other achieve a shared vision of clean water and a healthy environment for the Schuylkill River and its tributaries. We share information, expertise, and technology to better utilize resources and prioritize restoration efforts toward our common vision.

Delaware Valley Early Warning System

This notification program provides a secure and centralized location through which the participants (including water utility personnel, emergency responders, government agencies and industry representatives) can share information about source water quality and emergency or contamination events. Public water suppliers whose intakes are along the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers are notified via telephone, website and data management systems, and a water quality monitoring network.

Delaware River Basin Commission

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is a regional planning, development and regulatory agency that represents the four states that border the Delaware Basin. Part of DRBC’s role is to convene advisory committees to make recommendations relevant to basin needs, including drinking water needs. The water department works closely with DRBC staff and advisory committees to ensure Philadelphia’s drinking water needs are met.


Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center

As a means of achieving new levels of water quality, the Philadelphia Water Department sponsors this public amenity whose mission is to educate citizens to understand the connections between the human activities of daily life and the health of the City's natural environment and waterways.

Environmental Education Centers

The role of Environmental Educational Centers is to promote stewardship of the environment through learning. Newly acquired knowledge can then spread to neighbors and friends, and the message can bring about many small actions of individuals that can add up to a big improvement for our waterways.

Pennypack Environmental Center

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center

Wissahickon Environmental Center (Tree House)


Philly RiverCast is an online tool that provides the daily forecast of Schuylkill River bacteria content and categorizes the water quality to offer guidelines for appropriate recreational activities that involve contact with the water. It allows river users to make informed decisions about when it is safe to recreate in the Schuylkill River.


This is a notification system intended to alert the public of the possible combined sewer overflows from Philadelphia’s combined sewer system outfalls. CSOcast is based on the Philadelphia Water Department's extensive flow monitoring network that has been maintained since 1995 via level sensors that record data throughout the combined sewer system.

Stormwater Inlet Stenciling

This program seeks to curb stormwater pollution through hands-on service learning techniques for all stakeholders in the community. Stormwater inlet stenciling is the act of labeling storm drain inlets with messages that remind people not to dump anything into the storm drain, as they convey untreated stormwater and trash directly to our waterways.

Philly Fun Fishing Fest

Through the revitalization of our region's creeks, streams, and rivers, a variety of sporting fish have returned to the Schuylkill River. To celebrate and engage the public, we host this annual fishing festival on the banks of the Schuylkill River and open it to all skill levels and ages. Prizes, fun activities for kids, and fishing instruction are all part of this fun event!

Public Awareness of Drinking Water Supply

Educating the general public about what affects the quantity of their drinking water supply is a powerful means to protecting and preserving our waterways. As people become knowledgeable about the sources of their drinking water, they are more likely to practice and advocate responsible water conservation and green infrastructure implementation.

Water Efficiency

Water efficiency is an important means of reducing stress on our sewer systems and rivers. The water department has teamed with the EPA to become a WaterSense partner, and future outreach efforts by the department are geared toward ways to reduce water use in households and businesses.


Neighborhood Enhancement


The Office of Watersheds supports DCNR in its effort to increase tree cover within the City. Through this partnership, we are contributing to the creation and enhancement of forested riparian buffers throughout Philadelphia's park system, which will help protect our waterways and increase recreational opportunities.

Tree Tenders

The Horticultural Society sponsors this free, interactive training course on the subject of tree care. The course is structured so that attendees gain fundamental knowledge pertaining to the biology, identification, planting, and proper care of trees native - as well as acclimated - to our region. As partners, we contribute toward teaching efforts.

Green Schoolyards Initiative

This program aims to create accessible, stimulating and safe outdoor spaces that are educationally, environmentally, and socially vibrant. As the region's watershed experts, we supply technical assistance to landscape architects and designers to incorporate stormwater best management practices and outdoor watershed education areas into the site designs.

Clean Up Efforts

The Office of Watersheds partners with local organizations to conduct cleanup efforts, engaging volunteers to achieve community involvement and build neighborhood pride. We assist with the removal of litter and heavy debris from streams, and the improved aesthetic quality of waterways enables them to be viewed and treasured as resources.


Open Space / Land Protection

Schuylkill Priority Lands

Schuylkill Priority Lands guides strategic conservation and efficient land resource use to protect the integrity of water supplies. The water department also collaborates extensively with regional land trusts and conservancies to ensure forested lands are permanently protected for drinking water supply protection. This prioritization is now being reproduced for the Delaware basin.

Partnership with Fairmount Park

In an effort to achieve common goals and priorities, PWD is building on the history of how Fairmount Park was created to preserve open space in order to protect our waterways and water supply.

Dog Waste Control Program

Many dog owners are completely unaware of the connection of dog waste to water pollution and that cleanup in public areas is conducted as a common courtesy. Dog waste in yards and parks could be a potential source of stormwater runoff pollution. “Bags on Board” and educational tip cards were produced and purchased for distribution at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center and various public events. The “Bags on Board” is a roll of 15 dog waste collection bags that conveniently clips onto a dog leash. Refills are available at most local pet shops. The educational tip card that is being distributed with the units not only explains the effects of dog waste on local waterways, but also provides a list of other daily actions that can be modified slightly to reduce stormwater runoff pollution. This program was also beneficial in educating dog owners on other sources of stormwater runoff pollution and how these non-point source pollutants affect the local waterways and the Delaware Estuary.


University Research Partnerships

PWD is working with higher education institutions to research the condition of the streams leading into the Schuylkill River. In partnership with Lehigh University, PWD is contributing to the development of a new procedure for tracking cryptosporidium. Drexel University had partnered with PWD to research microbial source tracking. In both instances, PWD gets the benefit of the research itself and can then adopt the procedures for their own use.