In its management of the Tennessee River watershed, TVA strives to balance the competing demands on the river system. But it doesnt have the authority to regulate water pollution.
The individual states set their own pollution regulations and grant discharge permits. Both types of controls are primarily meant to govern industrial operations, not community activities.
What TVA can (and does) do to improve water quality is collect and share data, identify problems, and work with the TVA region's citizens to achieve solutions.
Clean Water Initiative
Through its Clean Water Initiative, which began in 1992, TVA builds partnerships with community residents, businesses, and government agencies to promote watershed protection. TVAs Regional Watershed Offices are responsible for carrying out the program. They focus on improving water and shoreline conditions so that people and aquatic life can benefit from having clean water.
Among other accomplishments, these community coalitions have:
- Instituted agricultural and urban-management practices that reduce water pollution
- Treated eroded land and stabilized streambanks
- Planted vegetation and installed structures intended to improve aquatic habitat
- Collected waste and litter from streambanks and shores.
TVAs Clean Water Initiative served as a model for the development of the national Clean Water Action Plan announced by the Clinton-Gore administration in 1998. TVA was actively involved in developing the plan, which is designed to protect public health and restore the nations waterways by helping communities form partnerships to address water-quality problems.