Clean Water Rule

What the Clean Water Rule Does Not Do

A Clean Water Act permit is only needed if a water is going to be polluted or destroyed. The Clean Water Rule DOES NOT:

  • Protect any types of waters that have not historically been covered by the Clean Water Act.
  • Add any new requirements for agriculture.
  • Interfere with or change private property rights.
  • Regulate most ditches.
  • Change policy on irrigation or water transfers.
  • Address land use.
  • Cover erosional features such as gullies, rills and non-wetland swales.
  • Include groundwater, shallow subsurface flow and tile drains.

The rule protects clean water necessary for farming, ranching, and forestry. Farms across America depend on clean and reliable water for livestock, crops, and irrigation. The final rule specifically recognizes the vital role that U.S. agriculture serves in providing food, fuel, and fiber at home and around the world. Activities like planting, harvesting, and moving livestock have long been exempt from Clean Water Act regulation, and the Clean Water Rule doesn’t change that. The Clean Water Rule provides greater clarity and certainty to farmers and does not add economic burden on agriculture.

Read fact sheets on why the Clean Water Rule is important for stakeholders