Protecting the World's Freshwater
Learn how our Explorers are preserving the world’s freshwater resources.
Understanding freshwater is critical for life on Earth and is an integral part of the National Geographic Society’s mission.
Our World Water Map – part of the newly launched World Freshwater Initiative (WFI) – accounts for every drop of water in the world – and where it’s going. Experience this map with real-life stories about freshwater challenges and solutions told by National Geographic Explorers who are working to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world.
We invest every philanthropic dollar—100 percent of donations—directly into our Explorers and programs.
For 135 years, the National Geographic Society has funded intrepid and passionate individuals dedicated to pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery and illuminating our world. The Society not only supports Explorers through funding, but also through professional development, training, leadership and speaking opportunities, community building, and connections.
What we are doing to protect the world's freshwater
World Freshwater Initiative (WFI)
In many locations on Earth humans and our way of living on the planet are placing unsustainable demands on the supply of freshwater. National Geographic’s World Freshwater Initiative focuses on freshwater availability, quality, and sustainability by leveraging the development of a one of a kind geovisualization of the world’s freshwater availability.
Over the next five years, WFI will fund National Geographic Explorers working in freshwater science, conservation, education, and storytelling.
Request for Proposals: Freshwater Conservation Projects
Image credit: Martin Gamache for M Leijnse, M F P Bierkens, K H M Gommans, D Lin, B Droppers, A Tait and N Wanders
The National Geographic Society launched a funding opportunity to support community-led freshwater conservation projects in global water-scarcity Hotspots. To read more about this, download the funding opportunity overview and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The deadline to submit pre-applications is Monday, March 25, 2024, at 11:59pm EDT.
Okavango Wilderness Project
The Okavango Basin is the main source of water for a million people and is one of the most biodiverse places in Africa. Since 2015, the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project has been surveying and collecting scientific data on the Okavango River system in collaboration with local communities; NGOs; and the governments of Angola, Namibia, and Botswana to secure permanent, sustainable protection for the greater Okavango River Basin.
Perpetual Planet Expeditions
The National Geographic Society and Rolex have partnered to support trailblazing scientific research, expeditions, and solutions to increase our understanding of the threats facing the planet’s life support systems and drive action to address them. We most recently launched the Perpetual Planet Amazon Expedition – a multi-year science and storytelling exploration of the Amazon spanning the river basin from the Andes to the Atlantic to tell the story of the water and the wildlife, plants and people who depend on it.
Meet the Explorers making an impact
We’re committed to pushing the boundaries of science, storytelling, and education, and we’re making exploration more inclusive. We’re tapping scientists, educators, and storytellers in more than 140 countries; amplifying the voices of diverse groups of Explorers; and working closely with local communities.
Join us to learn and protect the wonder of our world
Only when people understand the challenges of freshwater supply will they be able to take action to impact sustainability for the future.
Donate now to help support projects like preserving the world’s freshwater.
Opportunities for the next generation of changemakers
Photo credits (from top of page): Mauro Sergio, Jonathan Irish, Kostadin Luchansky, Pablo Albarenga, Ghaamid Abdulbasat, Jens Stefan Benöhr, Marc Bierkens, Thalefang Charles, Safa Fanaian, Garvita Gulhati, Dalal Emily Lucia Hanna, Enrique Lomnitz, Shreya Ramachandran, Karabo Moilwa, Kostadin Luchansky, Xavier Lorenzo/AdobeStock, Mark Thiessen, Esther Ruth Mbabazi