Providing Clean Water

Harry Tracy Water Filtration Plant

President Clinton delivers remarks regarding the Safe Drinking Water Act at the Harry Tracy Water Filtration Plant in San Francisco.

Pres. Clinton Signing the Safe Drinking Water Act (1996)


Americans do have a right to know what’s in their drinking water and where it comes from before they turn on their taps. Under the new law, water authorities will be required to tell them. President Clinton, Video Remarks on Signing the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996, August 6, 1996

One of the most significant actions toward providing clean water during the Clinton administration was the passing and signing of the 1996 amendments to the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act.

Remarks on Water and the Environment with President Clinton's Edits

These amendments strengthened the original law, which had focused mainly on water treatment, by including measures to protect water sources. The new law contained a “Right to Know” provision that demanded that water systems share consumer confidence reports annually with their customers, informing customers of discovered contaminants, sources of the water, and how it was treated. This provision alone reduced violations by almost 40%.

In 1993, 79 percent of Americans lived in areas with tap water that met all federal standards. By 2000, that figure rose to 90 percent.

In the fall of 1997, the Clinton administration turned to cleaning and protecting our waterways. Vice President Gore and President Clinton called on federal departments and agencies to develop an action plan to clean up America's waterways and signed Executive Order 13061, the American Heritage River Protection Program, to clean and revitalize communities and their riverfronts.