General Awareness,  Shouting Facts

10 Rivers that were Successfully Restored from Water Pollution


Since the advancement of human civilization, the environment suffered a lot. Most of the human societies settled along the river sides; since then the holy waters accepted everything that we threw in it. With time the river banks became more and more polluted. Water Pollution has now become one of the most devastating problem for many countries especially for the developing one.

There were and are many thousands of rivers facing acute pollution. But some have been dramatically cleaned, setting an example for others to follow.

So let’s know about some of them. I have prepared the list of 10 Rivers that were successfully restored from Water Pollution with a reference to the strategy they implied for the purpose. I hope this post will add up to your thoughtful knowledge.   

10 Rivers that were successfully restored from Water Pollution

  1. Thames, London

Considered as one of the holiest river of the Great Britain, river Thames however once suffered severe level of water pollution. During 1957, the river was extremely polluted that it was declared as ‘biologically dead’. That time it was just a foul smelling dumping channel, worsened by sewage disposals and agricultural runoffs. The river’s reclamation started in 1970s and 80s, when strict laws were made and enforced for regulating sewage and chemical disposals into them. With thorough cleaning and dedicated team work for almost two decades, the river was finally restored. Now it is a home to many aquatic organisms like seals, porpoises, fishes and sea lampreys. The river even got the International Theiss River Prize for river management and restoration in 2010.


2. San Antonio River, Texas

The river flowed through the urban settlements with around 10,000 square km of river basin in the state of Texas, USA. It was one of the most polluted river at one time, but since 1980s the government restored the river by one of the biggest Urban Ecosystem Restoration Projects that focused on managing the major sewage sources into the water. Almost 334 acres of riparian and 113 acres of aquatic habitats were restored. In the present time the basin is a hub for more than 11 million tourists. In 2015, the river basin was declared a world Heritage Site.


3. Pasig river, Philippines

The Pasig river was once doomed with severe water pollution, all its basin was overloaded with slums and unmanaged inhabitants without proper sewage planning and treatment plans before disposal of waste water into the river. Since the year 1999, the government formulated Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) under which the river banks were cleaned and the informal dwellings were rehabilitated to the organised areas. Many protected areas were set up alongside the river banks which finally contributed in successfully reclamation of the river.


4. Tweed River, UK

The Tweed river flows through the borders of England and Scotland in the United Kingdom. The river was earlier polluted by excessive sewage, fertilizer and pesticide seepage from agricultural lands, developmental activities and industrial dumping. With the adaption of Tweed Catchment Management Plan (CMP), the rivers were successfully restored from extreme water pollution. Many woodlands were established alongside the river, the riparian areas were rejuvenated and an efficient resource utilization plans were adapted in order to make the river clean.

5. Niagara River, USA

The Niagara River flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario along the borders of Canada and USA. Because of its location in the International borders, it was mostly ignored and most often used as a dumping site by various chemical factories, steel plants, oil refineries and other industries. The excessive chemical accumulation in the river water led to severe cases of health ailments and wildlife deformities. Finally in 1972, the governments of USA and Canada signed up ‘Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement’ that proved out to be fruitful in restoring the river. In 2016, the project became the winner of International Theiss River Prize, inspiring many others all the way through.

6. Willamette river, USA

The Willamette river flows in the state of Oregon in the western USA. The river staged a time when the water pollution level was very high because of toxic elements from chemical industries, sewage effluents, high water temperatures and drastic population burdens. The river was then successfully revived and even got the International Theiss River Prize in 2012.


7. Segura, Spain

The Segura river of Spain was very polluted at one time. In 2001, the country set up Segura River Authority which projected various strict rules such as taxes were collected for waste water management from both rural and urban dwellings, and heavy fines were charged against the polluters. Many wastewater treatment plants were constructed and a synchronized wastewater collecting system was formulated along the river banks. The public participation in the process was commendable and within a decade the river was revived. It now hosts a wide flora and fauna including migratory birds and aquatic animals.


8. Charles River, USA

The river Charles flows in the state of Massachusetts through the highly populated city of Boston. It was one of the most polluted rivers and had highly contaminated waters. The city’s sewage was disposed into the river without any prior treatment, also heavy chemical wastes were dumped into it. The condition of the water had extremely declined that one can’t even touch the water. In 2006, the state government formulated Charles River Watershed Association, which worked in coordination with public and private agencies, that contributed to a clean and biodiversity rich Charles River.


9. Sha River, China

The Sha River of China was once a dumping place for sewage, rural garbage, industrial effluents and coal silts. Moreover the river banks were severely deforested. In 1999, the river was declared as biologically dead. In 2001, the Sha River Restoration Project was flagged with contribution of KEC Japan, Harvard University USA and Bank of China. The project dramatically contributed in reviving the river water quality; many parks were made, proper drainage facilities were adopted, sewage treatment plants were constructed, catchment areas were engineered and flood management technologies were adapted. In 2006, the project became the winner of International Theiss River Prize.


10. Rhine, Europe

The Rhine river originates from the Swiss Alps and flows through the borders of Switzerland, France, Germany, finally flowing into the Netherlands. As it shares the international boundaries, the river was mostly ignored and had become a dumping site for most bordered industries. Moreover, sewage and agricultural leaching worsened its conditions . In 1963, the bordering countries signed a treaty to clean the river, which helped it to become one of the most cleanest river of the Europe.



Everyone know that cleaning a severely polluted river is not an easy process. Cleaning and reviving any river requires equal participation from government and public. It’s our responsibility that we care about our resources at individual levels and help the government in the process.

So, this was my list of 10 Rivers that were successfully restored from Water Pollution.

I hope this post was thoughtful for you. Don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE it with your friends.


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