The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (“the agencies”) are finalizing a rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act. In developing this rule, the agencies considered the text of the relevant provisions of the Clean Water Act and the statute as a whole, the scientific record, relevant Supreme Court case law, and the agencies’ experience and technical expertise after more than 45 years of implementing the longstanding pre-2015 regulations defining “waters of the United States.”

This final rule advances the objective of the Clean Water Act and ensures critical protections for the nation’s vital water resources, which support public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth across the United States.



This action is effective on March 20, 2023.


The agencies have established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2021-0602. All documents in the docket are listed on the​ website. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available electronically through


Whitney Beck, Oceans, Wetlands and Communities Division, Office of Water (4504-T), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-2281; email address: , and Stacey Jensen, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Department of the Army, 108 Army Pentagon, Washington, DC 20310-0104; telephone number: (703) 459-6026; email address: .