Category Archives: Waterkeeper Alliance

Charleston Waterkeeper is pleased to present this guest blog post by Dr. Vijay Vulava of the College of Charleston. Dr. Vulava is a professor in the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences and Director of the Hydrochemistry Research Laboratory. He also serves on Charleston Waterkeeper’s Board of Directors where provides scientific expertise and insight for our programatic activity. In this post Dr. Vulava recounts his recent visit to New Delhi, India with students from his study abroad course: Water Resources and Pollution in the Developing World.

CofC Group with Yamuna Waterkeepers

The College of Charleston maintains a close relationship with Charleston Waterkeeper, especially in their efforts to monitor water quality along Charleston’s many tidal creeks and rivers to ensure that the water is safe for all users.  Several students from the College volunteer their time to help Charleston Waterkeeper, while others work with them on research projects.  Recently a group of students and faculty members, including myself and Dr. Timothy Callahan of the Geology department, visited India for a biennial study abroad course to study water resources and pollution along the much revered Ganges River. With Charleston Waterkeeper’s help, we had the opportunity to meet with the Mid Upper Yamuna Waterkeeper, Ms. Minakshi Arora, and her husband Kesar, the Lower Yamuna Waterkeeper, in New Delhi this past June.

The Yamuna Waterkeepers are working very hard to help clean up, what is possibly, the most polluted river in India.  The Yamuna River is a major tributary of the Ganges River, and like Ganges River, has headwaters in the glaciers of the Himalayas.  However, as the river passes through pristine headwaters into the plains of northern India, the river water is heavily used for potable water, farming, industries, waste disposal, and energy production by a very densely populated region of India.  Point- and non-point source pollution discharged into the river makes it highly polluted, while the inept and corrupt local, state, and federal governments make cursory effort to clean up the river.  Incidentally, this river is also a major drinking water source for India’s capital, New Delhi, but downstream of the capital, the river is no more than a wastewater canal.


During our visit to New Delhi, Ms. Arora and Kesar (they are the entire Yamuna Waterkeeper) graciously visited with us on a very short notice and took time to talk about their advocacy and ground-level efforts to help clean up rivers in the Yamuna basin using traditional and conventional methods.  They work on a shoestring budget (charitable donations are their main source of funding) and partner with local universities and other nonprofits.  Ms. Arora answered a lot of our questions and also led a field trip to the banks of Yamuna near ITO barrage, which is a major drinking water intake for New Delhi.  However, the water here is already polluted and stench from the river was quite strong – one can only imagine how hard Delhi’s water treatment plant has to work to make this water potable. Downstream of the city the river receives all the treated (and untreated) wastewater that is discharged by the city’s wastewater treatment plants.  This river continues south along Agra and majestically flows in the background of the famous Taj Mahal.  Along the way the river continues to be abused and more waste from industries as well as numerous farms and towns is dumped indiscriminately – the river is no more than a vast sewer behind Taj Mahal during most of the year, until the monsoon rains revive the river at the end of summer.


Overall, it was a very interesting visit and meeting with the Yamuna Waterkeepers.  The College’s students learned about the role that nonprofits, such as Yamuna Waterkeeper, play in raising awareness among the common populace about water pollution and its link to societal wellbeing.  They not only learned a wide range of scientific issues regarding water use in India, but also the role that the government and the Indian culture plays on how water is used in this part of the world.  It was an eye-opening experience for us all.

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Although water is one of the most vital resources on the planet, waterways continue to decline in quality and quantity in virtually every part of the world. Earth is home to one billion cubic kilometers of water, yet only 2.5 percent is fresh water. Of that, less than one percent is clean and accessible, leaving more than one billion people living without safe drinking water.

SweetWater Brewing Company realizes the importance of protecting these vital water sources and has once again teamed up with the Waterkeeper® Alliance, and Charleston Waterkeeper – a local non-profit working to protect the community’s right to clean water – for their Save Our Water campaign, supporting the conservation of the Southeast’s most threatened rivers, streams and coastlines. The cause is near and dear to the brewery as clean water is also vital to the creation of their tasty brews.

Kicking off July 4 and running through Labor Day, SweetWater’s Save Our Water campaign encourages patrons to “give of your liver to save the river” by enjoying SweetWater’s seasonal Waterkeeper® Hefeweizen ale, purchasing campaign t-shirts, and making paper fish donations at participating restaurants, bars and retail accounts where the beer is sold across the Southeast. Locally, patrons can find the ale at Triangle Char + Bar, Bohemian Bull, Crafty Draught, Sesame Burgers & Brew, Closed for Business, Molly Darcy’s, Taps Brew, Obrion’s Irish Pub, Smoky Oak Taproom and Bay Street Bier Garten. Additionally, supporters can visit to donate online, or purchase co-branded merchandise.

In 2011 SweetWater launched Waterkeeper® Hefeweizen, a beer with a cause, helping to spread the campaign’s crusade right on the beer label. Now, as part of their seasonal Catch & Release line-up, the unfiltered brew made its return to shelves and draft taps earlier this June.

SweetWater founded the Save Our Water program in 2006 with its local Chattahoochee Riverkeeper in Atlanta, and efforts grew larger as the brewery did. Since the inception of the program eight years ago, SweetWater has raised more than $700,000 for the cause, with a whopping $150,000 raised in 2013 alone. Today, the Save Our Water campaign supports more than 35 Waterkeeper® members in Southeastern cities where the brewery distributes beer including Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana and Virginia.

“Waterkeeper Alliance is excited to partner with SweetWater for the Save Our Water campaign,” said Pete Nichols, National Director of the Waterkeeper Alliance. “It’s always refreshing to see the business community step up in the protection of clean water and we’re grateful for their support.”

For more information on the Save Our Water campaign, upcoming events or to donate online, visit

Day Break in Charleston. Photo courtesy of

A few months ago, we had the privilege to meet Creighton Cutts, the founder of Bee Natural in Athens, GA.  Creighton had come to Charleston for a “Floatoshoot” on the Charleston Harbor for Bee Natural’s Waterkeeper Alliance campaign, and we were very impressed by his work.

Creighton designs custom beautiful Honeypot® luminaries, and has grown his business significantly since he came up with the process more than 14 years ago.  In the time since, much of his profit has gone back to non-profits (like us!) looking out for our environment, including many members of Waterkeeper Alliance.

This is where you come in!  Charleston Waterkeeper is proud to announce that if you make a purchase from Bee Natural, a percentage of the proceeds will come back to support us!  Not only will be be getting a beautiful Honeypot®, but you will be helping us protect your right to clean water.

As you can see, the Honeypot® would be a beautiful addition to your house or office.  To buy a Honeypot®, click here and make sure to note that you would like to support Charleston Waterkeeper at checkout.

On behalf of Creighton and the entire team here at Charleston Waterkeeper, thanks for your support!


Cosmos HoneyPot®. Photo courtesy of

Our colleagues in New York, Riverkeeper, were recently featured in a Wall Street Journal story about combined sewer overflows (CSO).  The issue relates to the release of stormwater and raw sewage into our nation’s creeks, rivers, and waterways during heavy rains.  Many cities with newer infrastructure do not have such problems; however, those with the antiquated systems run the risk of introducing harmful pollutants into our water. Interested in Charleston’s sewer history? Here’s an interesting account.