Brian Richter

A Market-Based Strategy for Sustainable Water Management

By Brian Richter, Chief Scientist, Water, The Nature Conservancy Australia is one of the driest inhabited places on Earth. Yet nearly two-thirds of the country’s land area is devoted to agriculture, generating 93 percent of the domestic food supply. The ...

Wetland Revival: Using impact investment to restore nature

 Conservation interests and agencies gathered along the Murray River in Australia earlier this month to witness the return of water to a wetland system that now rarely receives floodwater from the river, due to construction of large water-storage reservoirs built ...

A World Without Rivers

 I was looking at a river bed And the story it told of a river that flowed Made me sad to think it was dead (From the song “A Horse with No Name” by America) Some of my favorite photographic ...

A Think Tank for the Colorado River’s Future

Grand Canyon photo by Brian Richter   Have you ever been in a work meeting or a classroom when you realize that you – and probably everyone else in the room – seemed to be talking at cross purposes and had lost ...

Can Desalination Help Save a Holy River?

The Jordan River of the Middle East has supported a long succession of empires and other human settlements for more than 8,000 years, but it took less than one generation of modern civilization to reduce the river to a trickle of ...

The Australian Approach to Water Crisis: Work With Farmers

With water crises erupting in California, Texas, and the Colorado River Basin, state water managers throughout the western U.S. and our federal government could take some valuable lessons from the impressive progress made in Australia over the past decade. ...

To Understand Water, Learn the Math

 OK, I’ll admit to being a bit of a geek when it comes to water numbers. I never got all that excited about algebra in school, and college calculus was a real struggle.  But water numbers fascinate me.  If ...

Short on Water? Don’t Blame it on the Rain

The common refrain in media stories about water shortages is that they are caused by droughts.  Don’t believe them. Droughts don’t cause water shortages.  People do. The water shortages appearing with increasing frequency and intensity around the globe ...

Short on Water? Don’t Blame it on the Rain

The common refrain in media stories about water shortages is that they are caused by droughts.  Don’t believe them. Droughts don’t cause water shortages.  People do. The water shortages appearing with increasing frequency and intensity around the globe ...

Four Water Resolutions for a Sustainable Planet

Most of us have been taught since childhood to be careful in our use of water.  We’ve been encouraged to take shorter showers, not let the water faucet run while brushing our teeth or shaving, or to install water-efficient ...

Four Water Resolutions for a Sustainable Planet

Most of us have been taught since childhood to be careful in our use of water.  We’ve been encouraged to take shorter showers, not let the water faucet run while brushing our teeth or shaving, or to install water-efficient ...

My Fellow Scientists: No More Chicken Little

Two weeks ago, hundreds of my fellow environmental scientists gathered in Bonn, Germany, for a conference on Water in the Anthropocene.  You may not yet be familiar with this term “anthropocene.”  It was coined by scientists to make the case ...

My Fellow Scientists: No More Chicken Little

Two weeks ago, hundreds of my fellow environmental scientists gathered in Bonn, Germany, for a conference on Water in the Anthropocene.  You may not yet be familiar with this term “anthropocene.”  It was coined by scientists to make the case ...

Tapped Out: How Will Cities Secure Their Water Future?

Today, global demands for food, energy, and shelter are putting unprecedented pressure on the resources of the planet. Water is at the heart of this crisis. In fact, more than half of the world’s cities are already experiencing water ...

A Christmas Present for the Colorado River

  Just days before Christmas, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released the results of a comprehensive study of the Colorado River basin’s water situation.  The “Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study” assessed a Christmas tree of ...