Illustrations by Robert Zimmerman
National Geographic's water footprint calculator is designed to give U.S. residents an estimate of the water they use on a daily basis. This includes direct use at home through toilets, taps, and hoses, but also the water embedded in the production of food crops, electronics, paper products, electricity, transportation fuels, and more. The calculator is meant to be an educational tool that gives users a rough estimate of how much water it takes to keep their daily lives afloat. It is not meant to be a definitive and granular analysis.
We give you an individual footprint for household water use (indoor and outdoor), for your diet, your energy and transportation choices, and for the material goods and services you rely on or treat yourself to—from visiting the hospital to purchasing a new TV.
In all but the outdoor section, the footprint relies on a baseline average that your responses are either added to or subtracted from. Because of the nature of outdoor water use and its close connection to local temperature and precipitation, we build your outdoor footprint from scratch.
See below for the methods, assumptions, and calculations behind the madness, and the sources for our “Tips” section.
We start with your household footprint because this is where we have the best data, and where you might have the jurisdiction to make small changes that add up to important savings.
The national average American household footprint is 100 gallons per capita per day (gpcd), or about 5 percent of an individual’s total daily H20 use.
Average household water use is based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense Program estimate of 100 gallons per capita per day.
Baseline = 69.3 gpcd for a “standard home” and 40.8 gpcd for a “conserving home.”
These estimates were compiled by Peter Mayer, vice president of Aquacraft Inc., a water-engineering and management-consulting firm that has served the EPA and various city and state governments.
Mayer’s sources include his 1999 Residential End Uses of Water study for the American Water Works Association, Aquacraft’s 2000 Seattle Home Water Conservation Study, Aquacraft’s 2003 Residential Indoor Water Conservation Study, and Aquacraft’s 2004 Tampa Water Department Residential Water Conservation Study.
If you live in a home built after 1994, chances are it was built with federally mandated low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads, according to Mayer.
So, if you answered that your home was built after 1994, we’re assuming you live in a “conserving home” and take you straight to questions about bathing. If you answered that your home was built before 1994 or that you don’t know, we’re assuming you live in a “standard home.”
But then we give you the opportunity to subtract gallons from your baseline if you have replaced any fixtures after 1994.
According to Aquacraft, average daily water use from faucets is 10.9 gallons per capita per day (gpcd) in a standard home, 8.2 gpcd in a conserving home.
If you’ve replaced all of your faucets, we subtract 2.7 gallons from the standard home baseline (10.9-8.2=2.7).
If you’ve replaced some of your faucets, we subtract 1.4 gallons from the baseline (2.7/2=1.4)
According to Aquacraft, average daily water use from showerheads is 11.6 gallons per capita per day (gpcd) in a standard home, 8.7 gpcd in a conserving home.
If you’ve replaced all of your showerheads, we subtract 2.9 gallons from the standard home baseline (11.6-8.7=2.9).
If you’ve replaced some of your showerheads, we subtract 1.5 gallons from the standard home baseline (2.9/2=1.5).
How Often You Shower, and For How Long
Aquacraft’s baselines assume that the average person takes five showers a week at eight minutes each. Based on this and the gpcd observed for standard and conserving homes, we determined a standard shower flow at 2.0 gallons per minute (gpm), a conserving showerhead flow at 1.5 gpm, and if you have some of each, an average flow of 1.8 gpm.
Standard home: (11.6 gpcd x 7 days)/(5 showers x 8 minutes) = 81.2 gallons/40 minutes = 2.0 gpm
Conserving home: (8.7 gpcd x 7 days)/(5 showers x 8 minutes) = 60.9 gallons/40 minutes = 1.5 gpm
Some water-conserving features: (10.2 gpcd x 7 days)/(5 showers x 8 minutes) = 71.4 gallons/40 minutes = 1.8 gpm
If you use more than the baseline, we’ve added gallons to your score, and if you use less, we’ve taken gallons off of the average. The number of gallons depends on how you’ve answered questions related to the type of shower fixtures and home you have, the number of showers you take a week, and how long those are.
Your shower water footprint =
Baseline for a standard home [(number of showers)(number of minutes)(gpm)]/7 - 11.6
Baseline for a conserving home, or standard home with all new fixtures [(number of showers)(number of minutes)(gpm)]/7 - 8.7
Baseline for a home with some upgrades [(number of showers)(number of minutes)(gpm)]/7 - 10.2
Baths are assumed to be 70 gallons each. Aquacraft’s baseline estimates include less than a bath a week, so for the purposes of this calculator, we assume that any baths you take are an addition to the baseline. We ask how many you take a week, multiply that by 70 and divide by seven to get gallons per capita per day.
According to Aquacraft, average daily water use from toilets is 18.5 gallons per capita per day (gpcd) in a standard home, 7.8 gpcd in a conserving home.
If you’ve replaced all of your toilets, we subtract 10.7 gallons from the standard home baseline (18.5-7.8=10.7).
If you’ve replaced some of your toilets, we subtract 5.4 gallons from the standard home baseline (10.7/2=5.4).
Aquacraft’s baseline estimate assumes that the average individual in America does 2.6 loads of laundry a week. We’ve rounded this up to three, and assumed each of these use 30 gallons, per Mayer’s estimates that each load in a front-loading machine or a top-loading energy-efficient machine costs about 20 gallons and regular top-loading machines are estimated to use about 40 gallons a load. This would mean the average person uses 12.9 gpcd for laundry.
Your laundry water footprint = [(the type of machine you have)(the number of loads you do a week)]/7 - 12.9 gpcd
Aquacraft’s baseline estimates assume that the average individual in America runs just under one dishwasher load a week, we’ve rounded this up to one for the calculator. Mayer and EPA also estimate that each load uses about 10 gallons, so the average gpcd for dishwashing with a machine is about 1.4 gpcd. If you don’t use a dishwasher, we are assuming that you wash dishes by hand, at about 20 gallons a washing, per EPA estimates. Assuming you handwash dishes just once a week, a very low estimate, we’re adding 3 gpcd to your baseline. If you wash dishes by hand just sometimes, we’re adding 1.5 gpcd to your footprint.
Your dishwashing footprint =
BASELINE washing by hand OR
= BASELINE number of loads a week/7 if more than 1 load a week OR
= BASELINE number of loads a week/7 1.5 if more than 1 load a week and answer was “sometimes” OR
= BASELINE – number of loads a week/7 if less than 1 load a week OR
= BASELINE – number of loads a week/7 if less than 1 load a week and answer was “sometimes”
If you have a lawn, more than 50 percent of your household water footprint can go toward maintaining it.
When you enter your zip code, our calculator associates that number with annual evapotranspiration (ET) rates and growing season precipitation rates, in inches per year, for your state. This provides the foundation for a rough estimate of how much additional water your lawn and plants may need to thrive in your climate.
Available public data for ET rates are limited. For our rough estimate, we overlaid an ET map, produced by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on a U.S. map to find state averages. FAO data are for the period from 1961-1990.
Precipitation numbers were taken from the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). We eyeballed monthly averages for 2009 growing season months as outlined by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center information on frost/freeze dates to determine annual growing season rainfall totals.
Number of People in Your Household
Outdoor numbers are calculated per household, so in order to get your individual footprint, we divided by the number of people you share your home with.
Based on some primary research, we are working under the assumption that the average American lawn is one-fifth of an acre or about 8,700 square feet. We parsed this out into small (0-5,000 square feet, with a calculator value of 2,500 square feet), medium (5,001-15,000 square feet, with a calculator value of 10,000 square feet), large (15,001-25,000 square feet, with a calculator value of 20,000 square feet), and extra-large (greater than 25,000 square feet, with a calculator value of 44,000 square feet, or one acre).
What You Grow
Tom Ash, director of conservation, at HydroPoint Data Systems, a firm that develops comprehensive ET estimates for farmers and regional planners, advised that relative to a locality’s reference ET, the ET rate for traditional turf grass is 100 percent (or a value of 1 in the calculator) , the ET rate for plants, trees, gardens, and shrubs is 50 percent (or 0.5), and the ET rate for low-water-use (sometimes called xeric) plants, trees, shrubs, and grasses is about 25 percent (0.25). This means that conventional turf grass is thirstier than most plants and shrubs, and that xeric or low-water-use vegetation requires much less water than conventional turf.
How You Water
If you told us that you don’t water your lawn, then we’ve assigned you 0 gpcd for outdoor water use. If you said that you water efficiently, and only when necessary, we’ve assigned you a factor of 1, meaning you are giving your grass and plants only what they need beyond what they get from rainfall. If you said you water a lot, then you get a factor of 1.2, meaning you are watering 20 percent more than your plants need.
Your landscape water footprint = [[[(total landscape area)(area of turf grass)(1xET-PRECIP)(0.083) (total landscape area)(area of garden, shrubs, etc…)(.5xET-PRECIP)(0.083) (total landscape area)(area of low-water-use plants)(.25XET-PRECIP)(0.083)](how you water your lawn) x 7.5]/365]/number of people in your household
0.083 = conversion factor for square inches to square feet
7.5 = conversion factor for cubic feet to gallons
According to P.K. Data, Inc., a market research firm that specializes in pools, and the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP), there are 5,178,000 inground pools and 4,246,000 above ground pools in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. This would mean that 56 percent of residential pools are inground. According to P.K. Data CEO William Kennedy, the average inground pool holds 25,000 gallons of water and the average aboveground pool holds 18,000 gallons. So, the weighted average pool volume in America, given the available data, is about 22,000 gallons.
According to Tom Ash at HydroPoint, the ET rate for turf grass can serve as a rough proxy for the ET rate of an uncovered pool. Again, the ET rate would be specific to your state.
If you have a pool, we are assuming that it is average size at 22,000 gallons and about 700 square feet. If you divide 22,000 by 365, you get a 60 gpcd addition to your footprint. If you keep your pool covered, we are assuming no loss due to evaporation.
Your pool footprint:
If you answered “yes” = [(700 square feet) (ET-PRECIP x 0.083)] x 7.5/365 60]/number of people in your household
If you answered “yes, and I keep my pool covered” = 58/number of people in your household
If you answered “no” = 0
The water footprint of the average American diet is 1,056 gallons per capita per day (gpcd), or about 53 percent of an individual’s total daily H20 use.
The baseline for our calculator’s average American dietary water footprint is based on research and statistics from the Water Footprint Network’s (WFN) study of national water footprints: “Water Footprints of nations: Water use by people as a function of their consumption pattern,” A.Y. Hoekstra and A.K. Chapagain, Water Resource Management (2007), p. 42.
WFN’s estimates account for both domestically grown and processed food as well as imported food.
For serving sizes, we relied on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Guide Pyramid.
1 serving beef = 3 oz.
1 serving poultry = 3 oz.
1 serving pork = 3 oz.
1 serving milk = 1 cup
1 serving coffee = 1 cup
According to Water Footprint Network’s analysis of individual products:
The global average water footprint of 1 lb. of beef = 1,799 gallons water
The global average water footprint of 1 lb. of chicken meat = 468 gallons water
The global average water footprint of 1 lb. of pork product = 576 gallons water
The global average water footprint of 1 gallon of milk = 880 gallons water
The global average water footprint for 1 gallon of coffee = 880 gallons water
Based on these numbers, we are assuming that 1 serving of beef costs 342 gallons of water, 1 serving of poultry costs 89 gallons of water, 1 serving of pork requires 109 gallons, a cup of milk requires 55 gallons of water, and it takes 55 gallons of water to make a cup of coffee.
The assumptions built into the baseline about how many servings the average American eats of each of the products listed above came from the USDA’s Economic Research Service. If you eat more or less than the average, we’ve added or subtracted from the baseline.
When we ask for weekly consumption habits, we make sure to divide by seven to get gallons per capita per day.
ENERGY AND TRANSPORTATION
The water footprint of the average American’s energy consumption—both at home and on the road—is 700 gallons per capita per day (gpcd), or about 35 percent of an individual’s total daily H20 use. Our calculator includes only electricity use at home, not oil or other heating fuels.
Our electricity baseline comes from the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) 2009 report on “Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005.” From this study, we took the total amount of water withdrawn from rivers, lakes, even salty bays and estuaries, to produce thermoelectric power. Most of this water is used for cooling within the power plant, and is released back into the water body from which it came. Even though very little of this water is consumed, we include it in the water footprint because the withdrawals themselves can be damaging to fish and river health, as can the release of heated water back to the environment. The calculator tailors results to your state, but the national average for thermoelectric power production is 671 gallons per capita per day (gpcd) (using 2005 data for both withdrawals and U.S. Census Bureau population estimates). If you rely on renewable sources such as wind and solar, you may be using less water. However, alternative fuels such as corn-based ethanol, may rely heavily on irrigated crops, and therefore may be even more water-intensive. For the water footprints of some raw materials used for energy production, visit National Geographic’s Hidden Water interactive, which illustrates data from the Water Footprint Network. Lastly, for both methodological and data reasons, we did not include hydroelectric power in this calculator, so if you live in the Pacific Northwest or other areas where hydropower is a dominant electricity source, the home energy portion of your footprint as calculated by our tool may be low. The data provided by states to the USGS varies widely, from 12,600,000,000 gallons a day used for thermoelectric power in California to 1,100,000 gallons a day for thermoelectric power in Idaho.
According to a study by Carey King and Michael Webber at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas-Austin ("Water Intensity of Transportation," Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 42, No. 21, 2008, pp. 7866-7872), every gallon of gasoline requires on average 12.9 gallons of water.
To find your driving water footprint, we divide your annual mileage by your average fuel economy and multiply by 12.9. The total is then divided by 365 for a “gallons per capita per day” amount added to your state-influenced electricity baseline.
In the electricity and transportation section, the baseline for our calculation is the state-based electricity water footprint, but the national average, used to gauge your score against, is the national average electricity footprint plus a national average footprint for both driving and flying. The electricity baseline is 671 gpcd. The energy and transportation national average—including electricity, driving, and flying—is 700 gpcd.
We’ve determined that the national average water footprint for airline travel is three gpcd, and the national average water footprint for driving is 26 gpcd.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the average fuel economy for passenger cars in 2007 was 22.5 miles per gallon (mpg), and for other 2-axle, 4-tire vehicles was 18 mpg.
In 2008 passenger cars logged 2,553,043,000,000 miles and other 2-axle, 4-tire vehicles, including vans, pickup trucks and sport/utility vehicles, logged 1,921,960,000,000 miles, according to BTS data.
Car miles accounted for 57 percent of mileage in 2008, while other vehicles that we’re tracking accounted for 43 percent.
Based on these numbers, average fuel economy in 2008 was:
(22.5)(0.57) (18)(0.43) = 20.5 mpg
In 2008 the average American drove about 41 miles [(2,553,043,000,000 1,921,960,000,000)/301,621,157 Census estimate for 2007 = 41].
Using our equation for the water footprint of your driving habits, we’ve determined that the national average water footprint for Americans is:
41/20.5 x 12.9 = 26 gpcd.
We determined use of jet fuel for domestic and international airline flights from the U.S. Dept of Energy, Energy Information Agency and the number of passenger miles traveled from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Using figures from the King and Webber paper cited above, and an assumption provided by King (via email exchange) that the water intensity of jet fuel is similar to that of diesel, we calculated water use for air travel to be 0.3 gallons per airline passenger mile.
We’ve split round-trip flights into three categories (short at 0-1,000 miles, with a calculator value of 150 gallons of water each flight; medium at 1,001-6,000 miles, with a calculator value of 1,050 gallons; and long (6,001-10,000 miles, with a calculator value of 2,400 gallons.) To get to the gpcd figure we need to add to your baseline, we add up the water costs of your annual flying habits (or requirements) and divide by 365.
The national average for flying was determined at three gpcd based on the following information:
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates that Americans flew 1,048,414,099,000 miles in 2006.
Divided by U.S. Census Bureau population estimates for 2006, we reached an average of 10 miles per person per day.
10 x 0.3 gallons per mile = 2.8 or 3 gpcd.
STUFF and SERVICES
The water footprint of the average American's consumption of material goods and services is difficult to estimate given the wide variety of products and activities in this category, plus the limited information available on how much of each item people buy or use. However, we took at least a partial stab at it by estimating the average water footprint for four important categories: clothes and shoes, home furnishings, electronics, and paper. The baseline for these four categories is 232 gallons per capita per day (gpcd), or about 11 percent of the average individual's total daily water footprint.
Our estimates of the amount of water used in each product category come from an analysis done at the Carnegie Mellon Green Design Institute. Researchers there analyzed the water footprints of more than 400 industries-from footwear manufacturing to hospitals. Their results were published in Environmental Science & Technology ( "Direct and Indirect Water Withdrawals for U.S. Industrial Sectors," by Michael Blackhurst, Chris Hendrickson, and Jordi Sels i Vidal, 2010, 44 (6), pp. 2126-2130).
Through an online model designed by Carnegie Mellon, using the same industry data, we were able to assess the number of gallons of water per $1 million of economic activity in each industry category. We segmented out the industries that seem to best correspond to the latest (2008) Bureau of Labor and Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES), which provides statistics on how people spend their money. Ideally, we would calculate a weighted average of the subcategories (weighted according to each line item's share of spending in that category) to arrive at the average for that category. Due to data limitations and the very approximate nature of this component of our water footprint calculator, we use a simple average for each category.
Take clothes and shoes, for example. According to the CES statistics, the average American spends about $1,800 a year on clothes and shoes, including jeans, T-shirts, running shoes, suits, and dress shoes. Line items for apparel in the Carnegie 2002 purchaser model (which Hendrickson and Blackhurst said could serve as a proxy for how much water you can associate with each dollar purchased) that roughly correspond to the items included in the apparel line item in the CES were:
- men's and boys' cut and sew apparel manufacturing: 21,700,000 gallons of water for every $1 million in economic activity
- women's and girls' cut and sew apparel manufacturing: 26,000,000 gallons of water for every $1 million in economic activity
- other cut and sew apparel manufacturing: 22,700,000 gallons of water for every $1 million in economic activity
- accessories and other apparel manufacturing: 22,700,000 gallons/$1 million in economic activity
- footwear manufacturing: 21,000,000 gallons of water for every $1 million in economic activity
The simple average for these five subcategories is 22,700,000 gallons per $1 million of economic activity - or 22.7 gallons for every dollar spent. We round to 23 gallons for every $1 spent.
To get the average American's daily water footprint for this category, we need to multiply that 23 gallons per dollar spent by average expenditures and then divide by 365 days in the year.
So ($1800/c/yr)(23gal/$1)/365 days/yr) = 113 gallons per capita per day (gpcd).
If you answer that you spend average ($1,800 a year) your daily footprint for clothes and shoes is 113 gpcd. If you spend "way less, practically nothing," we're assuming your footprint is only 20 percent of the average, or 23 gpcd. If you spend "a little less," we're assuming you're 70 percent of the average, or 79 gpcd. If you're "a little more" we assumed 1.3 times the average, or 147 gpcd, while "a lot more" is twice the average, or 226 gpcd.
The Carnegie Mellon-analyzed industries that roughly correspond to CES data on home furnishings, on which people tend to spend about $1,600 a year, are:
- Carpet and rug mills = 62.2 million gallons/$1 million
- Curtain and linen mills = 50.9 Mgal/$1M
- Electric lamp bulb and part manufacturing = 7.62 Mgal/$1M
- Lighting fixture manufacturing = 8.54 Mgal/$1M
- Small electrical appliance manufacturing = 8.18 Mgal/$1M
- Household cooking appliance manufacturing = 11.3 Mgal/$1M
- Household laundry equipment manufacturing = 9.47 Mgal/$1M
- Household refrigerator and home freezer manufacturing = 10.0 Mgal/$1M
- Other major household appliance manufacturing = 8.66 Mgal/$1M
- Wood kitchen cabinet and countertop manufacturing = 11.2 Mgal/$1M
- Upholstered household furniture manufacturing = 18.9 Mgal/$1M
- Non-upholstered wood household furniture manufacturing = 10.9 Mgal/$1M
- Metal and other household non-upholsetered furniture = 14.9 Mgal/$1M
- Mattress manufacturing = 14.5 Mgal/$1M
- Blind and shade manufacturing = 13.8 Mgal/$1M
Simple average = 17 gallons / $1 spent.
Average individual footprint: = ($1,600)(17 gal)/365 = 75 gpcd
If you answer that you spend average ($1,600 a year) your daily footprint for home furnishings is 75 gpcd. If you spend "way less, practically nothing," we're assuming your footprint is only 20 percent of the average, or 15 gpcd. If you spend "a little less," we're assuming you're 70 percent of the average, or 53 gpcd. If you're "a little more" we assumed 1.3 times the average, or 98 gpcd, while "a lot more" is twice the average, or 150 gpcd.
The Carnegie Mellon-analyzed industries that roughly correspond to CES data on electronics, on which people tend to spend about $1,500 a year, are:
- Electronic computer manufacturing = 4.31 Mgal/$1M
- Computer terminals and other computer peripheral equipment = 5.14 Mgal/$1M
- Telephone apparatus manufacturing = 4.55 Mgal/$1M
- Broadcast and wireless communications equipment = 5.11 Mgal/$1M
- Other communications equipment manufacturing = 5.33 Mgal/$1M
- Audio and video equipment manufacturing = 8.28 Mgal/$1M
Simple average = 5 gallons/$1 spent
Average individual footprint = ($1,500)(5 gal)/365 = 21 gpcd
If you answer that you spend average ($1,500 a year) your daily footprint for electronics is 21 gpcd. If you spend "way less, practically nothing," we're assuming your footprint is only 20 percent of the average, or 4 gpcd. If you spend "a little less," we're assuming you're 70 percent of the average, or 15 gpcd. If you're "a little more" we assumed 1.3 times the average, or 27 gpcd, while "a lot more" is twice the average, or 42 gpcd.
We were more on our own with paper products, as there wasn't CES data that wrapped up these consumption habits in the way we'd like. So, we estimated that the average American spends about $1200 per year on the following Carnegie Mellon-analyzed industries:
- Newspaper publishers = 5.62 Mgal/$1M
- Periodical publishers = 4.66 Mgal/$1M
- Book publishers = 3.45 Mgal/$1M
- Sanitary paper product manufacturing = 16.0 Mgal/$1M
Simple average = 7 gallons/$1
Average individual footprint = = ($1200)(7 gal)/365 = 23 gpcd
If you answer that you spend average ($1,200 a year) your daily footprint for paper products is 23 gpcd. If you spend "way less, practically nothing," we're assuming your footprint is only 20 percent of the average, or 5 gpcd. If you spend "a little less," we're assuming you're 70 percent of the average, or 16 gpcd. If you're "a little more" we assumed 1.3 times the average, or 30 gpcd, while "a lot more" is twice the average, or 46 gpcd.
Remember, since we're only assessing four industry categories, our footprint estimate for your "Stuff and Services" is probably lower than it really is.
TIPS and THANK YOUS
The water footprint calculator was created in partnership with Blue Legacy and Alexandra Cousteau's Blue Planet Expedition.
We extend our gratitude to Kai Olson-Sawyer, Scott Cullen and their colleagues at H2O Conserve for so generously sharing their time and expertise with us in the earliest stages of calculator development.
A special thanks to other advisors along the way, including Peter Mayer at Aquacraft, Tom Ash and his colleagues at Hydropoint, Mary Ann Dickinson at the Alliance for Water Efficiency, Amy Vickers author of the Handbook of Water Use and Conservation: Homes, Landscapes, Businesses, Industries, Farms, Michael Blackhurst and Chris Hendrickson at the Carnegie Mellon Green Design Institute, Carey King and Michael Webber at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas-Austin, Brent Kim at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Arjen Hoekstra at the Water Footprint Network, Danielle Nierenberg at the Worldwatch Institute and project director for the Nourish the Planet initiative, Donald Wilhite at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Bill Kennedy at P.K. Data, Tom Lachocki at the National Swimming Pool Foundation, and the folks we spoke with at the Chicago Field Museum.
Producer and Researcher: Tasha Eichenseher
Co-Producer (Revision): Brian Clark Howard
Illustrator and Developer: Robert Zimmerman
National Geographic Missions Adviser: Barbara Rehm
Production Assistant: James Robertson
Senior Vice President of Content Development and Design for NG Digital Media: Rob Covey
For more about National Geographic’s Freshwater Initiative, and for more on how to cut your footprint, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/water.
Help Save the Colorado River
You can help restore freshwater ecosystems by pledging to cut your water footprint. For every pledge, Change the Course will restore 1,000 gallons back to the Colorado River.
Sandra is a leading authority on international freshwater issues and is spearheading our global freshwater efforts.
He's paddled the Colorado River from its headwaters to the delta, in an effort to bring awareness to this mighty river at risk.
For more than 15 years, Osvel Hinojosa Huerta has been resurrecting Mexico's Colorado River Delta wetlands.
Change the Course Infographic
Check out this infographic and learn how you can conserve water and save the Colorado River, as well as other freshwater ecosystems.
Water Currents, by Sandra Postel and Others
A year in the making, this video highlights nature's splendor.
A wetland flourishes in Mexico thanks to a treatment plant.
Scientists investigate the impacts of "micro plastics" on lake ecosystems.