Sandra Postel

Fellow, Water


Sandra Postel is a leading authority and prolific author on international water issues; she directs the independent Global Water Policy Project and in March 2010 she was named the National Geographic Society's first Freshwater Fellow.

In 1992 Postel authored Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity, which now appears in eight languages and was the basis for a PBS documentary that aired in 1997. She is also author of Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last? (1999) and co-author of Rivers for Life: Managing Water for People and Nature (2003). Her article "Troubled Waters" was selected for inclusion in the 2001 edition of Best American Science and Nature Writing. Sandra has authored well over 100 articles for popular, scholarly, and news publications, including Science, Scientific American, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.


Change the Course: Hope for “Troubled Waters”

length: 14:38   credit: National Geographic   Aug 16, 2013

Sandra Postel views the world through a water lens, advocating for all to make simple and easy changes to their everyday lives that will help "Change the Course" of the Earth's precious supply of freshwater.


Please Explain: How to Save the World—The Global Water Supply

length: 40:12   credit: The Leonard Lopate Showdownload   Jan 25, 2012

Sandra PostelWe're kicking off a series of Please Explains on how to save the world—ways to approach complex global problems such as climate change, food supply, garbage disposal, population control, and violence. Today's topic is how to protect the world's water supply. Upmanu Lall, Director of the Columbia Water Center, and Sandra Postel, founder of the Global Water Policy Project and National Geographic Freshwater Fellow join us to discuss the state of fresh water around the globe.

Latest Publications

Rivers Need a Thorough Health Exam

Sandra Postel    Oct 01, 2014   

A view of the Picote Dam, a hydroelectric installation in Tras Os Montes, Portugal, on the Douro River. Credit: VOLKMAR K. WENTZEL/National Geographic Creative Rivers are the blue arteries of the Earth. Their flows deliver … >>

A Sacred Reunion: The Colorado River Returns to the Sea

Sandra Postel    May 29, 2014   

 Completing a 53-day journey through its Delta, the Colorado River reaches the tidal zone of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). Photo credit: Francisco Zamora, Sonoran Institute, with aerial support from LightHawk. … >>

WATER: Adapting to a New Normal

Sandra Postel    Jun 22, 2010   

EXCERPT: Water, like energy, is essential to virtually every human endeavor. It is needed to grow food and fiber, to make clothes and computers, and, of course, to drink. The growing number of water shortages around the … >>

The Post Carbon Reader

Sandra Postel

How do population, water, energy, food, and climate issues impact one another? What can we do to address one problem without making the others worse? The Post Carbon Reader features essays by some of the world’s most … >>

press coverage

Postel in the Mayo Advertiser

Sandra Postel  

Post Carbon Fellow Sandra Postel's participation in the Mayo Science Week, Clean Water 2040 was reported in the Mayo Advertiser. From the article: As part of Mayo Science Week, Clean Water 2040 is a half-day conference … >>