Clean water matters to everyone, and the Wissahickon Creek is where that all starts — close to home.

It’s a place families go to enjoy the great outdoors, and it also supplies water to thousands downstream. Our communities’ health depends directly on how clean the Wissahickon flows.

So how do we ensure that the creek gets cleaner, our communities get greener and our families stay healthy? Caring for our creeks means making a few small changes at home and together, as a community, supporting local governments’ changes on a larger scale.

At home, there are three simple things we can all do that make a huge difference:

• Use fewer fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides in our yards;

• Retain the rain by installing a beautiful, hard-working rain garden, rain barrel or pavers that allow water to soak in instead of run off;

• Pick up after our dogs so their waste doesn’t pollute the creek.

And as a community, it’s all about working together. From voting for pro-clean water candidates to becoming a Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association creek watcher, residents can be a part of all the work going on to improve the creek.

But it goes beyond that to the township level — many municipalities are working together in the newly formed Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership. And they need to know that our communities both support their work and are watching for strong results.

This partnership is composed of 13 municipalities, including Philadelphia, and four wastewater treatment plants, which have been working on a plan for the past two years to collectively “Own the Solution” for a cleaner Wissahickon Creek. We are confident that the partnership can prioritize green solutions that will ensure cleaner water and keep costs down. What’s remarkable about the partnership is its holistic and collaborative approach/vision.

The plan created by the partnership will address some of the more demanding state and federal regulations that are so important for improving water quality and will also ensure that local interests are emphasized and that no municipality is alone in combating pollution. Together, and with innovation, we are far stronger and more likely to develop and implement a plan that works.

Now that the partnership is really gaining ground, there are more opportunities for residents to get involved. You can visit for more information.

Gail Farmer is the executive director of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association.

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