NWNL Mission & Goals

Global watershed map Columbia River Basin Mississippi River Basin Raritan River Basin Nile River Basin Omo River Basin Mara River Basin

NWNL WATERSHEDS: CLICK shaded areas for info on them


No Water No Life combines the powers of photography, scientific research and stakeholder knowledge to raise awareness of the vital importance of freshwater resources, perils of watershed degradation and opportunities for sustainable resource management. A long-term and globally focused project, No Water No Life’s goals are to:

  • Document the availability, usage and quality of critical freshwater resources;
  • Educate stakeholders via publications, lectures, exhibits and educational tools;
  • Foster partnerships within and across geopolitical boundaries.


No Water No Life (NWNL) uses the watershed as its unit of analysis to document the values of fresh water, consequences of watershed degradation, and opportunities for sustainable management of water resources. Worldwide watershed issues include climate change, infrastructure development, resource extraction, pollution and habitat degradation. However, positive solutions include environmental restoration, increasing efficiencies in water use, community-based education and transboundary agreements.

NWNL has chosen six case-study watersheds to illustrate current universal threats to freshwater systems and offer possibilities of sound management policies and solutions. They are North America’s Columbia, Mississippi and Raritan River Basins and northeastern Africa’s Nile, Omo and Mara River Basins.

The NWNL approach centers on case-study expeditions along a river’s course, or a specific reach, tributary or drainage area that exemplifies significant characteristics. NWNL photography, videography and stakeholder interviews record historic, current and potential watershed management challenges and solutions. NWNL research teams develop each watershed’s focus, expedition itineraries and project outputs. Project documentation is presented in print media, educational tools and on the Internet. Expedition information and contacts are shared among potential partners to each other both within and across watersheds.

NWNL teams include photographers, scientists, educators and interns. Their backgrounds cover natural resource management, conservation biology, restoration ecology, forest ecology, conservation photography, videography and environmental education. NWNL has carried expedition flags from The Explorers Club and WINGS WorldQuest. The Scott Pearlman Field Award and generous private donations support the project’s expeditions. The project’s fiscal sponsor is iLCP/International League of Conservation Photographers, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation.