The Clean Water Act (CWA) is fifty years old and has not been meaningfully revised in 35 years. Over this time, the CWA has helped to protect and improve water quality, but substantial water quality challenges remain including (but not limited to) nonpoint source water pollution. Given these challenge's and dramatic changes in the nature of and scientific understanding of today’s water quality challenges, it is appropriate to ask whether the CWA remains capable of fostering further environmental progress or whether it is obsolete. Prepared for the Case Western Reserve Law Review symposium on “The Clean Water Act at 50,” this essay explores the concept of statutory obsolescence, considers the question of whether the CWA is obsolete, and what might be done about it.


Clean Water Act, Environmental Protection Agency, water pollution, nonpoint source pollution, statutory obsolescence

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73 Case Western Reserve Law Review (forthcoming, 2023)


COinS Jonathan Adler Faculty Bio