National Geographic Society Freshwater Fellow speaks at Missouri State Public Affairs Conference

Dr. Sandra Postel, Director of the independent Global Water Policy Project and Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, presented today at the Missouri State Public Affairs Conference on the global freshwater challenge. Dr. Postel spoke about the importance of revaluing water in our communities, health and economy.

The current world population is around 7.3 billion and we are all dependent on a finite resource. Water is interconnected to our food security, ecosystems and social/political stability. The World Economic Forum declared the water crisis as the top global risk in 2015. Globally, groundwater depletions have doubled since 1960 and that groundwater supply is used to grow the majority of our food. In the U.S. the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers dry up before they reach their deltas, and in doing so valuable ecosystems are lost. And it’s not just rivers and aquifers were losing, according to EPA between 2004 and 2009, an estimated 62,300 acres of wetlands were lost in the United States. Communities around the globe are better understanding how important healthy ecosystems are to our communities, health and economies.

So given these harsh realities what can we do? The solutions will come from public, private corporations and conservation organizations partnering and working together. We need to build our natural capital and strategically restore wetlands, rivers and watersheds that we have lost. We can increase water productivity using drip irrigation, reduce urban water demand and invest in green infrastructure. Dr. Postel stated that the future of water cannot look like the past. We must find a different balance. Not extracting water to a new location but keeping water in its place to protect that ecosystem and the services it provides. It is not only the right thing to do but also economical. We must revalue water, keep water ecosystems healthy and it is better late than never!

Postel is co-creator of Change the Course a national freshwater campaign to conserve water in the Colorado River Basin. To learn more or make a free pledge to reduce your water footprint visit:

Stacey Armstrong
Projects Manager

Mudflat remains of the Colorado River Delta, Sea of Cortez, Mexico.

Colorado River Delta. Photograph by Anni Griffiths Belt, National Geographic Society


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