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Sandra Postel directs the independent Global Water Policy Project and lectures, writes, and consults on international water issues. She is also Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, and serves as lead water expert for the Society's freshwater initiative. Sandra is the author of several acclaimed books, including the award-winning Last Oasis, the basis for a PBS documentary. Her essay "Troubled Waters" was selected for Best American Science and Nature Writing. Sandra is a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment, and has been named one of the "Scientific American 50" for her contributions to water policy.

Smarter Irrigation Returns Water to Arizona’s Verde River

What do you get when 21st century “smart” technology hooks up with a 19th century irrigation ditch? The short answer: more water-wise farming and a healthier river. That’s the story of this innovative project on the Verde River in central Arizona, where forward-thinking farmers joined up with the Nature Conservancy and installed a solar-powered “smart”…

This Thanksgiving, Some Luscious Cranberries Have a Smaller Water Footprint

Growing cranberries, those plump red little fruits that add a splash of color and taste to our Thanksgiving plates, promises to get more water-efficient, thanks to a new technique pioneered on coastal Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Commercial cranberries are grown in bogs in the cooler regions of the northern hemisphere.  Big North American producers include…

In Ireland, Water Will No Longer Be Free

Ireland is surely one of the greenest countries in the world, but its management of freshwater in recent times has been anything but green. Some 41 percent of the nation’s drinking water leaks out of delivery pipes – twice the UK average. That’s a costly loss given the expense of treating and pumping that water…

Moratorium Needed on Mekong River Dams

Few development schemes pose more serious risks to food security, fisheries, and aquatic ecosystems than the construction of proposed hydropower dams on the main channel of the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. Three years ago, in an environmental assessment of those proposed dams, the Mekong River Commission – the body that oversees regional cooperation in…

Stronger Efforts Needed to Reduce Nitrate Pollution in Mississippi River Basin

Despite growing concern over the last two decades about the low-oxygen “dead zone” that emerges each summer in the fisheries-rich Gulf of Mexico, the nitrate pollution at the root of the problem continues to rise. That’s the upshot of a study just released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which monitored nitrate trends at eight…

Sandhill Cranes are Back Along the Rio Grande

The sandhill cranes are back in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico, where they’ll over-winter until March.  Yesterday, I saw scores of the prehistoric-looking birds pecking through corn stubble on farms near the river.  A bit later, a dozen or so squawked loudly as they flew in formation high in the air.  I decided…

New Mexicans Call for Conservation over River Diversions

The western United States was settled with the help of big dams and river diversions that delivered distant water to burgeoning cities and farms, but at least one state is saying it’s time to shift gears. In a resounding voice of support for river protection, 85 percent of New Mexico residents say they want officials…

More Water Stress than Meets the Eye

In more and more places around the world, water demands are bumping up against the limits of Earth’s finite water supply. Each year seems to bring another analysis of “water stress” to help us get a fix on how dangerous our water situation is becoming, whether in a particular country or in the world as…

The Bosque of the Rio Grande, a Gem to Protect

September’s record-breaking rainfall and floods brought tragic loss of life and property to parts of Colorado and New Mexico.  The devastation has been hard to fathom. But for a river like the Rio Grande, which has suffered through years of drought, the floods produced a welcome reunion in parts of New Mexico: the river once…

Act Now to Save U.S. Water Efficiency Standards

This afternoon I learned from the Alliance for Water Efficiency, a non-profit organization based in Chicago, that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has introduced a bill that would repeal the enormously successful and crucially needed national water efficiency standards for plumbing fixtures. A vote could take place Monday. We cannot allow two decades of water conservation…

A Dam, Dying Fish, and a Montana Farmer’s Lifelong Quest to Right a Wrong

In the pantheon of river conservationists, few may leave a legacy larger than that of Roger Muggli, a third-generation farmer in eastern Montana. Thanks to his decades of efforts to help fish safely pass 12 Mile Dam, an irrigation diversion structure built in 1885 on the Tongue River, a major tributary to the Yellowstone, Muggli…

Arizona Irrigators Share Water with Desert River

As drought and high water demands deplete more and more rivers in the western United States, it’s easy to assume a future of dryness is the inescapable fate of once vibrant streams. But in the beautiful valley of the Verde River in central Arizona, farmers, residents, and conservationists are working together to restore flows to…

Small-scale Irrigation Boosts Incomes and Food Security in sub-Saharan Africa

For millions of poor farm families in sub-Saharan Africa, access to water makes the difference between hunger and a full belly, between a well-nourished child and one stunted by malnutrition, and between a productive livelihood and one mired in poverty.  For many, the long dry season is a trying time of one meal a day.…

Colorado’s Yampa River Gets a Lift for Second Consecutive Summer

Once again, an innovative water management tool is coming to the aid of the Yampa River, a beautiful headwater tributary in the Colorado River Basin that flows through western Colorado ranch country and the tourist town of Steamboat Springs. Last week, the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District signed an agreement with the Colorado Water Trust…

A New Check-Up on the Health of U.S. Rivers

Thanks in large part to the Clean Water Act, many rivers in the United States are cleaner now than when Ohio’s Cuyahoga River caught fire on a Sunday morning in June 1969. But the vast majority of the nation’s rivers and streams still do not measure up as healthy. According to a new assessment by…