Sandra Postel

Do rivers have a right to water? As dams and diversions deplete flows, it’s a question environmental advocates and legal scholars are asking more and more. Over the last decade, rivers in Ecuador and New Zealand have won legal rights, and a recent case in the western United States attempted to do the same for...

We have many lessons to learn from the tragedies wrought by Hurricane Harvey, but among the most important is that a broken water cycle increases risks to our communities and economies. Floodplains, tributaries, wetlands, lakes, ponds, rivers and groundwater form an interconnected whole that helps ensure clean, safe, reliable water supplies.  A well-functioning water cycle...

Casey Cox, who hails from a family with five generations of farming history along the Flint River in the southeastern U.S. state of Georgia, never expected to come back home. She’d graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville with a natural resources degree. A big thinker, Cox could have taken her desire to make...

“I don’t know what I pump and I don’t care – and that’s crazy,” says Paul Schwennesen, a fit, energetic rancher in his late thirties who might outcompete Clint Eastwood for most handsome cowboy. On his modest-size ranch, the Double Check, located in the lower San Pedro River Valley of southeastern Arizona, Schwennesen raises cows...

By Sandra Postel, Val Fishman and Todd Reeve We’ll cut right to the chase. We’re building a water stewardship movement, and we hope you’ll join us. Some 170,000 people and 22 companies already have. We have restored billions of gallons of water to depleted rivers and wetlands, and with your help, we can restore many...

Earlier this month, the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, released its annual risk assessment, which looks across the spectrum of threats to society and ranks them. This year, it declared water crises to be the top global risk to society over the next decade. Just behind water crises were the failure to adapt to...

In the lower Omo River Valley of southern Ethiopia, a spreading humanitarian emergency that threatens to spawn conflicts in the region is largely being met with silence from both the Ethiopian government and the international community. The filling of the reservoir behind Gibe III Dam on the Omo River is holding back the flows needed...

When it comes to water, concrete trumps common sense. That was the take-home message Wednesday evening from Daniel P. Beard, former commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, who spoke at Old Town Farm in Albuquerque on his swing through New Mexico to promote his book, Deadbeat Dams. Our political leaders “appear to be ostriches...

Sandra Postel and Todd Reeve The infamous use-it-or lose-it rule is arguably the biggest barrier to water conservation and river-flow restoration in the western United States. It basically says that if anyone holding water rights does not put them to full use, the unused portion can be taken away and allocated to serve the needs...